Photo: scene from the site
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office busted a large marijuna grow site housing over 20,000 plants –
“On June 5th, 2020, Lake County Sheriff’s Narcotics detectives received information regarding an unpermitted marijuana growing operation located on Dessie Drive in Lakeport from the Lake County Community Development Department.
Detectives were told there were approximately 20,000 marijuana plants currently being cultivated as well as illegal grading that had been performed on the property. Community Development explained that the property owner had obtained an early activation permit which allowed for planting of the plants while completing the permit process.
The early activation permit had expired in January 2020. Community Development further explained that no permits would be issued for the operation due to the environmental damage caused by the illegal grading.
Detectives conducted surveillance of the growing operation and observed several hoop style green houses on the property. They also observed a recently installed irrigation well with a large trench leading to the grow site. The trench spanned approximately 500 yards and crossed two drainages.
On June 9th, 2020, detectives served a search warrant at the Dessie Drive location. Detectives contacted seven adults and one minor at the grow site. They observed seven hoop style green houses and two conex storage containers that were being used for cultivation. There was a large graded area that was also being used to cultivate marijuana. The graded area crossed two natural drainages. There was loose soil and trash in the drainages. These drainages met at the bottom of the grow site and ultimately drain into Scotts Creek.
Detectives interviewed Kieron Julian Riley, 32, of Lakeport who told detectives he was the lead grower for the operation. Riley admitted that he did not have a permit from the county to work on the grow site.
Riley believed there was 20,000 to 25,000 marijuana plants on the property. Detectives searched Riley finding he was in possession of suspected Ketamine, LSD, and Ecstasy pills. Riley also had text messages on his cell phone related to mailing marijuana out of state to which Riley confirmed he was doing.
All of the other subjects were interviewed including the minor. They all admitted to working on the property helping cultivate the marijuana. None of the subjects had permits from the county allowing them to work at the grow site.
Detectives eradicated approximately 48,000 marijuana plants. They also located two 9mm handguns on the property and 1000 rounds for the handguns.
All subjects were released from the property. Detectives will be forwarding the case to the District Attorney’s Office for review of charges for Cultivation of Marijuana with Environmental Crimes, Possession of Marijuana for Sale, Maintaining a Location for the Purpose of Storing and Distributing a Controlled Substance for Sale, and Possession of a Controlled Substance.
The Sheriff’s Office recognizes that there are numerous growers who follow and abide by the state and local permitting regulations related to marijuana growing in Lake County. The Sheriff’s Office will continue to investigate and take action on growers who fail to comply with these regulations and operate illegal growing operations that damage our county and the environment.