Trinity County Sheriff’s Office press release:


On August 4, 2019, personnel from the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office, US Forest Service Law Enforcement, California Department of Justice and California Department of Fish and Wildlife, conducted a raid and eradication of a marijuana cultivation site on public lands. This was as a result of a months-long investigation of a Hispanic drug trafficking organization operating on public lands near the Trinity Alps Wilderness boundary on the Shasta Trinity National Forest in Trinity County.

During the operation, several subjects attempted to flee the scene. Trinity County K9 “Johnny” and California Fish and Wildlife K9 “Gillie” were deployed and apprehended two subjects.

A total of 1,888 growing marijuana plants and 200 pounds of processed marijuana were seized. There was evidence at the site that many more plants had already been harvested. Thousands of pounds of trash, miles of black irrigation pipe, dozens of propane tanks, hundreds of pounds of fertilizer and plant supplements were also at the site. A loaded SKS rifle was recovered in the complex.

Scientists and ecologists from Integral Ecology Research Center were brought into the site to evaluate and document the impact of the water diversion and the infrastructure that will need to be remedied. Initial estimates indicate well over 100 acres of public lands has been damaged by the illegal marijuana cultivation at this complex.

Subjects Arrested:

  • Manuel Cardenas DOB: 09/29/1986
  • Genaro Merino DOB: 03/06/1985


  • 11358(d)(3)H&S – Cultivate Marijuana causing environmental damage
  • 11359H&S – Possession of Marijuana for sale 182PC – Conspiracy
  • 1602F&G – Unlawfully Divert Water
  • 5652F&G – Deposit material within 100 feet of waterway
  • 5652F&G – Deposit hazardous material in waterway
  • 148PC – Obstruct, Resist a Peace Officer

Agencies involved:

  • Trinity County Sheriff’s Office
  • US Forest Service Law Enforcement & Investigations
  • California Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • California Department of Justice
  • Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) Integral Ecology Research Center