Six people have been arrested on suspicion of illegal marijuana cultivation in Mendocino County.
The Sheriff’s Department began investigating after receiving numerous complaints from residents about several large, seemingly unpermitted growing sites, as well as audible gunshots on a regular basis, in the area of Hulls Valley roughly nine miles north of Covelo.
Around 8 AM on June 3, deputies served two separate search warrants on Hulls Valley Road.
At one of the locations, a remote parcel of vacant Tribal land, deputies found several plastic greenhouses, all of which housed growing marijuana plants. Though no other persons were found on scene, deputies eradicated over 1,500 marijuana plants and confiscated a .22 caliber rifle.
At the second location, about half a mile away, deputies immediately came across a vehicle occupied by four men. After detaining the men, deputies quickly learned they were connected to this second grow site.
Two more men were detained and arrested on site, while another four fled the area on foot and have yet to be found.
By the end of the operation, a total of fourteen greenhouses were located between the two sites, all of which were reportedly irrigated by illegal water diversion from a nearby creek. Deputies eradicated a total of 3,141 marijuana plants and seized a loaded AR-15, two loaded handguns, and high-capacity magazines.
The men arrested have been identified as:
- Brandon David Hanover, age 18
- Erick Viscaino Bautista, 22
- Pablo Barojas Jiminez, 23
- Juan Carlos Huerta-Flores, 39
- Jose Antono Vzcaino Bautista, 21
- Juan Manuel Rosas Huerta, 18