Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office press release:
On July 10, 2018, deputies with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) served three search warrants to investigate the illegal cultivation of marijuana in the area of the Cedar Creek watershed in Northern Humboldt County. The following agencies assisted in the service of the warrants: California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Humboldt County Environmental Health and HAZMAT Unit, California State Water Board, Humboldt County Planning and Building Department and Cal Fire.
Three parcels were investigated during the service of the search warrants. The parcels did not possess nor were in the process of actively obtaining a commercial cannabis permit with the County of Humboldt.
Between the three parcels, deputies located multiple greenhouses with growing marijuana plants inside. Deputies eradicated a total of 6,677 growing marijuana plants. All three parcels were diverting water directly out of Cedar Creek.
At the third parcel, deputies located an unpermitted butane hash oil lab discharging an unknown hazardous sludge into Cedar Creek. At this site, deputies also located 238 pounds of processed marijuana, over 200 twenty-gallon tanks of butane and 25 pounds of pesticide.
Between the three parcels, assisting agencies found the following violations:
- Nine water diversion violations (up to $8,000 fine per day, per violation)
- Five water pollution violations (up to $20,000 fine per day, per violation)
- Four depositing trash in or near a waterway violations (up to $20,000 fine per day, per violation)
- Improper storage and removal of solid waste violation (up to $25,000 fine per day)
- Multiple grading without a permit violations (up to $10,000 fine per day, per violation)
- Multiple building code violations (up to $10,000 fine per day, per violation)
- Failure to prevent a hazardous waste release (up to $25,000 per day fine)
- Failure to report a hazardous waste release (up to $25,000 per day fine)
- Mismanagement of hazardous waste (up to $25,000 per day fine)
- Failure to create and file a hazmat business plan (up to $25,000 per day fine)
- Discharge of waste into state waters violation (up to $5,000 per day fine or $20 per gallon of waste discharged)
- Dredge or fill of wetlands violation (up to $5,000 per day fine)
No arrests were made during the service of the warrants. Additional violations with civil fines are expected to be filed by the assisting agencies.
Anyone with information about these cases or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at (707) 445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at (707) 268-2539.