On 05/17/2007 members of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, the Humboldt County Drug Task Force, and the California Department of Fish and Game, assisted the United States Forest Service in eradicating 51,328 marijuana plants from the area of the Upper Mill Creek Drainage in the north eastern area of Humboldt County. The marijuana – which was starter plants - ranged in height from about ½ to 2 inches, and was being grown on public National Forest Service land.
Evidence located in the garden indicated that this was a large-scale, continuing criminal enterprise, which had been in operation during previous outdoor marijuana growing seasons. Suspects have been identified although no arrests have been made at this time. At this time it appears that this marijuana was being grown by a Mexican national drug cartel that came into Humboldt County from out of the area.
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The marijuana was growing in eight different sites spread out over an area of about two miles. In addition to the grow sites, several campsites were located as well as stockpiles of food, fertilizer, animal poison, and ammunition. Several thousand pounds of marijuana grow supplies and trash were removed from the grow sites, but due to the enormity of this marijuana growing operation a large amount of trash was left on site.
This investigation started last Sunday, May 13, 2007, when wardens from the California Department of Fish and Game were conducting routine patrols for illegal hunting and saw a suspicious vehicle. Upon attempting to make contact with occupants of the vehicle, the occupants fled on foot and a chase ensued. No suspects were apprehended at the time, although an AK-47 rifle was located that had been dropped by the fleeing suspects. The United States Forest Service was notified and conducted further investigation. The investigation resulted in the discovery and eradication of this marijuana.
With this most recent seizure of marijuana, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Drug Enforcement Unit has eradicated more 88,000 marijuana plants this year.
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Due to this trend of large-scale, organized marijuana cultivation on public property being tended and guarded by armed subjects, members of the public are strongly urged to use caution and be aware of their surroundings when accessing public property. If evidence of marijuana cultivation is observed, members of the public are urged to leave the area and notify law enforcement immediately.
This case is still under investigation by the United States Forest Service and the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.