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Date Released: 10/2/2003
Subject: Fire / Marijuana Investigation
Contact: Brenda Gainey, PIO
Case No#: 200306601
Released By: Brenda Gainey

Location: Ettersburg

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a structure fire this morning after it was reported that the burning building housed an indoor marijuana growing operation. At about 11:00 AM the California Department of Forestry notified the Sheriff’s Office after making the marijuana discovery at the structure fire near the Ettersburg junction on Shelter Cove Road. Responding deputies found approximately 200 growing marijuana plants in the two-story building. The fire appears to have been started by a malfunction of the 45-kilowatt diesel generator that provided electrical power to the grow lights. Deputies arrested the landowner, Robert Wayne Smith, 52 of Redway on charges of cultivation and possession of marijuana. Mr. Smith was released at the scene and given a court date.