[UPDATE From HCSO] Burr Valley’s Hot! Bust Yesterday and Another Raid in the Area Today

Kym Kemp / Wednesday, July 9 @ 11:20 a.m. / Crime , marijuana

UPDATE 1:30 p.m.: Humboldt County Press Release (lots more photos farther down):

On 07-08-2014, at approximately 8:00 a.m., Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Deputies and an Environmental Scientist from the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (N.C. R.W.Q.C.B.) served two Humboldt County Superior Court search warrants in the Burr Valley area. When the deputies arrived at the first location they located five greenhouses containing 800 growing marijuana plants, ranging in size from 1’ to 3’ tall. Deputies and the N.C. R.W.Q.C.B. Environmental Scientist located environmental damage on the property consisting of stream diversions, a pond, and a dam. The suspects in this case are facing criminal violations for cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale and felony criminal and civil code violations of the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act. The criminal violations of the water quality control act if convicted under section 13387 can include state prison of up to 24 months per violation, and civil penalties of $5,000.00 to $25,000.00 per day the violation occurs. Per the N.C. R.W.Q.C. B. Scientist the civil penalty for the violation in this case is estimated to be at least $200,000.00. No suspects were located at the marijuana grow site; however, the investigation is continuing.

While driving to the second search warrant location, deputies saw marijuana plants ranging from 2’ to 3’ tall being cultivated six feet off the roadway. The deputies secured the marijuana grow site and obtained a Humboldt County Superior Court search warrant. Deputies and the N.C. R.W.Q.C.B. Scientist searched the property. Deputies located 256 marijuana plants, two semi-auto handguns, both of which were loaded.

After a search of the property, it was determined significant environmental damage had occurred to the property due to unpermitted grading. The N.C. R.W.Q.C.B. Scientist and the deputies witnessed damage to streams in the area, the hillside and unpermitted roads. These environmental violations are criminal and civil code violations of the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act. The estimated civil code violations alone in this case are approximately 1.5 million dollars if convicted. Deputies were able to identify three suspects and will be seeking arrest warrants for cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony and violations of 13387 of the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act. Cal-Fire and Cal Fish and Wildlife were notified of the Resource Code Violations and will be following up. They anticipate requesting additional charges.

Deputies then served the third search warrant. When they arrived at the third location, they located 874 growing marijuana plants ranging in size from 1’ to 3’ tall in two green houses and one outdoor garden. Deputies also saw unpermitted road building and removal of timber. Cal-Fire and California Fish and Wildlife were notified of the Resource Code Violations and will be following up. There was no water quality issues located at this location. Suspects have been identified in this case; however no one was located at the scene. Arrest warrants will be sought for cultivation and possession for sale of marijuana, and possible resource code violations.

Anyone with information for the Sheriffs Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriffs Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.

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Original Post: Lt. Steve Knight of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that there was a raid on a marijuana grow in the Burr Valley/Buck Mountain area yesterday and another raid today. Knight said that “streams were dammed and there were water quality violations” on yesterday’s bust.

Today, two suspects have been arrested and around 1000 marijuana plants were seized. Knight said that he believed that charges related to environmental damage would be filed on today’s arrests.  

More information about the violations should be forthcoming later this afternoon. We’ll update as soon as possible. 



[RETURNED] Eureka Juggalo Missing for Ten Days

Kym Kemp / Wednesday, July 9 @ 10:54 a.m. / Missing

UPDATE 1:30 p.m.: Alexander Desmarais has returned home. 


Original Post:Alexander Desmarais, age 21 from Eureka, was last seen June 26th when he was at the Little Red Lion Cocktail Lounge with friends. A text was received from Desmarais’ phone on the 29th purportedly from him. The text said he was fine and not to worry. However, he has not been heard from since. According to roommate, Desiree Husted, he has not shown up at the roofing company he works for and he has not responded to attempts by friends or family to contact him. Nor has there been any response to flyers with his image which were posted several days ago in the Eureka area.

Desmarais, has a small three ring tattoo under his eye, the words “Wicked Klown” and “Juggalo” on his neck, Insane Clown Posse face paint tattoo on his left torso and an Insane Clown Posse butterfly tattooed on his left arm.

If anyone has any information about Desmarais, contact Eureka Police Department at (707) 441-4060.

FBI and Humboldt County Sheriff Seek McKinleyville Bank Robber

Kym Kemp / Wednesday, July 9 @ 10:30 a.m. / Crime

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Press Release:

The FBI’s San Francisco Field Office and Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s help in identifying a suspect who allegedly robbed a bank in McKinleyville, Calif. 

On June 27, 2013 at approximately 10 a.m., the bandit entered the Bank of America at 2000 Central Avenue in McKinleyville. During the robbery, the suspect brandished a handgun, approached the teller counter, made a verbal demand for money and jumped over the counter to place the stolen money in a white trash bag. 

Witnesses describe the suspect as a black male in his 30s, approximately 5‘9” and 170 pounds with a thin build and a mustache. The suspect was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with the hood covering his head, dark “aviator”-style sunglasses, a white bandanna covering his face, gray gloves, gray sweat pants and black athletic shoes with white trim. Witnesses reported seeing a white sports utility vehicle, possibly a Cadillac Escalade or Nissan Xterra, fleeing the scene after the robbery. 

The suspect should be considered armed and dangerous. 

Anyone with information about the identity or whereabouts of the suspect is urged to contact their nearest FBI office or dial 911. The FBI can be reached 24 hours a day at 415-553-7400 in the San Francisco area. Tips should be submitted to the FBI San Francisco, Fortuna Resident Agency at 707-725-6141. All calls are confidential. Tips can also be submitted at tips.fbi.gov

This investigation is being conducted jointly by FBI San Francisco agents and Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office detectives.



In Response to Rising Motorcycle Fatalities, EPD Conducts Special Enforcement Operation

Kym Kemp / Wednesday, July 9 @ 8:21 a.m. / PSA

Eureka Police Department Press Release:

The Eureka Police Department will be conducting a specialized Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Operation in July, August and September in an effort to lower deaths and injuries.  Extra officers will be on duty patrolling areas frequented by motorcyclists and where motorcycle crashes occur.  Officers will be looking for violations made by drivers and riders alike that can lead to motorcycle crashes. They will be cracking down on both those operating regular vehicles and motorcycles who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, speeding, making illegal turns, or any other dangerous violation.

Motorcycle fatalities saw a phenomenal drop of 37 percent from 2008 to 2010, but then rose 23 percent by 2012. Operations like this are aimed at curbing any more rises in motorcycle deaths and sending the numbers back downward.

In 2013 Eureka saw 23 injury motorcycle collision, 2 were DUI related. There were no fatal motorcycle collisions in Eureka in 2013.

In 2014 so far Eureka has seen 8 motorcycle collisions with 6 people being injured and 1 fatality.

California collision data reveals that primary causes of motorcycle-involved crashes include speeding, unsafe turning and impairment due to alcohol and other drugs. The Eureka Police Department is also reminding all motorists to always be alert and watch out for motorcycles, especially when turning and changing lanes. Drivers should be aware that motorcycle lane splitting is not illegal if done in a safe and prudent manner. Motorcycle riders should consult the Lane Splitting General Guidelines to learn more – www.ots.ca.gov/lanesplittinggeneralguidelines.pdf.

Riders can get training through the California Motorcyclist Safety Program. Information and training locations are available at www.CA-msp.org or 1-877 RIDE 411 or 1-877-743-3411.

Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The message to all drivers and motorcyclists is: share in the responsibility and do your part by safely “sharing the road.”   

Missing Fourteen-Year-Old Found

Kym Kemp / Wednesday, July 9 @ 7:45 a.m. / News

The fourteen-year-old girl missing since the Fourth of July has been located and is now with her family. According to Brittany Kesterson of the Eureka Police Department, “Morgan Martin was located 07/08/14 at about 8:43 p.m. to the rear of the Bayshore Mall by family members.  Officers contacted the juvenile and cleared her from the missing person’s system.   

Martin went missing 8:30 p.m. [on July 4] and was believed to have run away. Her family was very worried. Martin, they said, had medical issues and required assistance. 

We’re so glad she was found.

Shane Miller Featured in The Premiere of John Walsh’s New Real Crime Series

Kym Kemp / Wednesday, July 9 @ 7 a.m. / Crime

Shane Miller, the former Humboldt County man wanted in the death of his wife and two young daughters in Shasta County, will be featured on a new show by the former host of America’s Most Wanted, John Walsh. (See the trailer for the Shane Miller episode above.)

Miller was last seen near Petrolia in May 2008 2013 and was the subject of an extensive manhunt in the area. In March of this year, filming about Miller took place in the tiny town. That filming was characterized by Lt. Wayne Hanson of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s office as “a news agency from outside this state that is doing a story about the Shane Miller manhunt.”

The premiere episode of this show (which is entitled The Hunt with John Walsh) will appear on CNN Sunday at 9 p.m. 


Here’s a Portal to the County’s Redesigned New Website

Ryan Burns / Tuesday, July 8 @ 3:06 p.m. / Government

The county has a snazzy new website (humboldtgov.org), and you should probably bookmark that url because Humboldt gubmint’s new digital home is invisible to the Google brain. (Try a search for “Humboldt County government” and you get those impostors in Nevada and Iowa.) The county’s tech people will soon remedy that, a spokesman assures us.

After some cursory browsing, we give the redesign a thumbs-up. Peruse and see what you think. Above you’ll find a screenshot of the new homepage, and below you’ll find a press release.

The County of Humboldt recently launched its new website, which includes more interactive tools for citizens, improved site navigation, and a fresh appearance that showcases the region’s beauty. The County’s web address has also changed to www.humboldtgov.org.

“We wanted a website that would fit the needs of today’s citizen and could adjust to the needs of tomorrow,” said County Administrative Officer Phillip Smith-Hanes. “It took a lot of hard work from all of our departments, and we now have a site that both the County and the community can be proud of.”

The Board of Supervisors last July approved a contract with CivicPlus, a leading government website provider, to redesign its website following a competitive request for proposal process. This marks the first time the County is using a vendor to deliver the website and not its own staff.

By using the CivicPlus content management system, the County gains efficiency as departments can now update their own web pages for the first time. The website now features email and text alerts you can sign up for, as well as an easier, more visually appealing layout to navigate. Some additional functions of the new website include:

• Interactive maps for County facilities, parks and libraries
• Library catalog search
• Countywide and department-specific calendars of events
• Improved search function that enables you to search agendas, documents and/or web pages
• +myConnections that allows you to sign in and customize the website so it displays prominently only the information that is relevant to you
• Enhanced disaster recovery capability to keep the website online during emergencies