Marijuana Enforcement Team Watershed Protection Operation

Marijuana Enforcement Team Watershed Protection Operation
Photo: one of numerous photos (see link for all of them). In this one a creek has been dammed up nd 100$ of the flow is going to the grow site

Originally published as a County of Humboldt press release

During the week of July 19-22, 2021, deputies with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Marijuana Enforcement Team (MET) served 23 search warrants to investigate illegal cannabis cultivation in four Humboldt County watersheds. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife, El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office, Tri County Drug Enforcement Team (TRIDENT), Humboldt County Code Enforcement, Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services – Environmental Health, California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) CalCannabis, California State Water Resources Control Board and California Division of Water Rights assisted in the service of the warrants.

Numerous parcels were investigated during the service of the warrants in the Redwood Creek, Steelhead/Powers Creek, Salmon Creek and Roach/Tulley Creek watersheds. Through scientific studies, these watersheds were identified to be losing waterflow at an alarming rate due to illegal commercial cannabis cultivation.

The watersheds are home to protected species such as Coho and Chinook salmon, and Steelhead trout who are already faced with unprecedented drought conditions. Illegal cultivation activities during a drought year put an exuberant amount of pressure on already strained fish and wildlife resources. This week’s eradication effort will help to conserve salmon and steelhead habitat critical for species survival.

None of the parcels investigated possessed the required county permit and state license to cultivate cannabis commercially. In total, deputies eradicated over 35,000 growing cannabis plants and documented approximately 97 environmental violations. During the service of the search warrants, environmental scientists and law enforcement found and documented severe damage to the watersheds. Additionally, juvenile salmonoids were located in dammed pools in the watersheds where water was being pumped out of with large gasoline-powered water pumps.

The following statistics and photographs were recorded during these investigations.

1. Redwood Creek Watershed

On July 19, 2021, teams served seven warrants on parcels in the Redwood Creek Watershed. During the service of the warrants, deputies eradicated approximately 17,082 growing cannabis plants. Deputies seized and destroyed over 618 pounds of cannabis bud and over 3,580 pounds of processed cannabis.

Assisting agencies found the following violations:

  • Twelve (12) water diversion violations (up to $8,000 fine per day, per violation);
  • Three (3) water pollution violations (up to $20,000 fine per day, per violation);
  • Four (4) depositing trash in or near a waterway violations (up to $20,000 fine per day, per violation).

2. Steelhead/Powers Creek Watershed

On July 20, 2021, teams served eight warrants on parcels in the Steelhead/Powers Creek Watershed. During the service of the warrants, deputies eradicated approximately 8,918 growing cannabis plants. Deputies seized and destroyed over 17 pounds of cannabis bud and over 1,310 pounds of processed cannabis.

Assisting agencies found the following violations:

  • Twenty-three (23) water diversion violations (up to $8,000 fine per day, per violation);
  • Nineteen (19) water pollution violations (up to $20,000 fine per day, per violation);
  • Sixteen (16) depositing trash in or near a waterway violations (up to $20,000 fine per day, per violation).

3. Salmon Creek Watershed

On July 21, 2021, teams served four warrants on parcels in the Salmon Creek Watershed. During the service of the warrants, deputies eradicated approximately 2,205 growing cannabis plants.

Assisting agencies found the following violations:

  • Six (6) water diversion violations (up to $8,000 fine per day, per violation);
  • Two (2) water pollution violations (up to $20,000 fine per day, per violation);
  • Four (4) depositing trash in or near a waterway violations (up to $20,000 fine per day, per violation).

4. Roach /Tulley Creek Watershed

On July 22, 2021, teams served four warrants on parcels in the Roach /Tulley Creek Watershed. During the service of the warrants, deputies eradicated approximately 6,922 growing cannabis plants. Deputies seized and destroyed over 55 pounds of processed cannabis.

Assisting agencies found the following violations:

  • Six (6) water diversion violations (up to $8,000 fine per day, per violation);
  • Two (2) water pollution violations (up to $20,000 fine per day, per violation).

No arrests were made during the service of the warrants. The cases will be forwarded to the DA’s Office for review. Additional violations with civil fines are expected to be filed by the assisting agencies.

 

[Source]

Marijuana Enforcement Team Watershed Protection Operation was last modified: August 9th, 2021 by admin
Categories: Humboldt

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