Illegal Marijuana Grow in Tulare County
Wildlife officers at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) discovered and shut down another illegal marijuana grow operation in Northern California. The officers served the search warrant on June 21, 2019, at a location south of the city of Alpaugh in Tulare County with the assistance of the Southern Tri Counties High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area team.
While serving the search warrant at the illegal marijuana grow location, the officers discovered firearms, an open trash pit near restored wetlands, and meth.
A records check established that the grow facility had no state or county licenses for marijuana cultivation nor had the owners notified CDFW which is part of the established licensing process. This resulted in the search warrant for the marijuana plantation.
Wildlife officers found and removed 1,581 illegally grown marijuana plants and approximately 1,000 pounds of processed marijuana together with three firearms (one AK-47), $8,980 in cash and 18.5 grams of methamphetamine. They took eight suspects into custody on seven different violations including three felonies.
All eight face charges of felony cultivation, possession of methamphetamine and a loaded gun, possession of an assault rifle, drug sales, resisting arrest and water code violations. In addition, the owners of the illegal marijuana grow will be forced to contribute financially to the restoration of the properties.
On their way to the illegal marijuana grow site, CDFW officers noticed another illegal grow in plain sight with two workers tending to the marijuana plants. The two individuals were also arrested, booked, and are now facing felony charges.
The illegal marijuana grow operation was near the Atwell Island Recreational area. The Atwell Island Recreational area comprises 8,000 acres of restored native grassland, wetland, and alkali sink habitats. It is important to migratory waterfowl as a resting point and a home to shorebirds and songbirds. Atwell is one of the few remaining wetlands in the area.
CDFW wildlife officers located on-site numerous fertilizer and pesticide containers and one 55-gallon drum of Roundup. Roundup is a known carcinogen in humans. The officers also found a large lined water pit for pre-mixing chemicals in water used for feeding the plants.
Furthermore, the grow area contained a large open trash pit and trash littering the illegal marijuana grow everywhere. Trash and harmful chemicals endanger wildlife living on or near the marijuana grow site. Tulare County is home to over 20 state and 10 federally listed species. Many are unique and not found anywhere else in the world.
This sorry case demonstrates clearly that scrupulous profiteers use every chance to get rich quick at any price. The legalization of the recreational use of marijuana was promoted as a means to get a handle on the illegal pot trade. But, as expected, this is what we are getting instead. The California Hunting Post published at least a dozen articles on illegal marijuana grows indoors and outdoors. Use the search function on the right and the keyword marijuana grow (or pot grow) to find the relevant articles (https://huntingboar.org/b/?s=marijuana+grow).
Hunters, anglers, and outdoor lovers report observations of pot-growing operations to CDFW or other law enforcement agencies even if you are an occasional user yourself. Help to protect our precious environment.
CDFW targets illegal marijuana grows in Hayfork in July 2019
The Department of Fish and Wildlife served 15 additional warrants in the Hayfork area of Trinity County in late June and early July 2019 as part of the campaign to protect watersheds.
The U.S, Forest Service, the National Guard, Trinity County Environmental Health, and the State Water Resources Control Board took part in this well-planned and coordinated operation.
Marijuana grow parcels in the Duncan and Barker Creek watersheds were targeted because the watersheds are critical for steelhead, foothill yellow-legged frogs, western pond turtles, and other wildlife.
The illicit marijuana grow operations diverted considerable quantities of water away from the creeks and to the illegally grown marijuana plants. None of the grows had had the required licenses for commercial cannabis cultivation from state and local agencies nor did they notify CDFW as required by law.
During the operation, the raiding parties arrested 23 suspects. They will be charged with 44 Fish and Game Code violations. The charges include illegal water diversions, pesticide and petroleum products placed near streams, sediment discharge and garbage placed near waterways.
Scientists and law enforcement officers are part of the program for a smooth transition of California to a regulated legal cannabis industry. To that effect, CDFW is conducting cannabis workshops throughout the state to educate growers in correcting environmental violations and on how to make their operations comply with legal requirements.
The CDFW program is explained in detail at www.wildlife.ca.gov/cannabis.
Hunters, anglers, and outdoor lovers should report observations of pot-growing operations to CDFW or other law enforcement agencies even if you are an occasional user yourself. Help to protect our precious environment.
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