Today we turn the dial on the Wayback Machine to June 23, 1998, when the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration busted a Berry Summit grow op that boggled everyone’s mind for a good long while.
What did they find? A whole house given over entirely to an indoor grow operation! Like, every room had weed growing in it! In a brilliant act of deception, the growers bought outdoor play gear and scattered it around the yard to make it seem like someone was living there. Oh, the perfidy! Imagine it!
Well, these things may seem dull today, but when Proposition 215 was only two years old they were pretty much unheard of. A grow house? A grow house? What will they think of next?
If you’re interested, the North Coast Journal archives have a chronicle of the bust here. People talked about it on the street for weeks. It helped that more than 12,000 plants were discovered during the raid — an impressive enough number today, but almost unfathomable two decades ago — and that the main perpetrator ran off into the woods to escape arrest. He lived on the lam for four years before they finally dragged him back in.
That man was Dennis Franklin Hunter, who was arrested again yesterday when the Santa Rosa Police Department raided two of his companies — Absolute Xtracts and Care By Design, each of which manufacture various marijuana-based creams and extracts and vape juices. According to the Press Democrat, Hunter was arrested and held on $5 million bail.
The cannabinoid community is up in arms about these raids. One reason the cops came down on these businesses, they say, is that they suspected that they were using butane to manufacture their vapes. Company spokespeople are saying that they did not use butane, that they used carbon dioxide instead. There was a rally outside one of the raided locations this morning:
City officials tell the PD that the companies had permits to manufacture “essential oils,” but maintain that nothing in those permits gave them permission to manufacture weed-based products.
Hunter, in the meanwhile, seems to have been leading a full life since his release from the prison sentence he got for his Humboldt bust. In 2011, he was about to be detained at an Arkansas airport when he fled law enforcement by taking off up into the skies, emergency-landing his plane on a rural road shortly thereafter. When cops caught up with him he once again fled into the woods and became the subject of a statewide manhunt