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On Wednesday 07/26/2017, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office’s Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) served two search warrants that covered three private parcels to investigate an allegation of illegal cultivation of marijuana. The private parcels in question had no applications on file with Humboldt County Building and Planning and no permits issued for the cultivation of commercial marijuana. The search warrants were served in the area of Blake Mountain. The following agencies assisted DEU with this investigation: Wardens from California Fish and Wildlife, Environmental Scientists from California Fish and Wildlife, CAL Fire Law Enforcement Officers, a specialist from the Humboldt County Environmental Health and HAZMAT Unit, Humboldt County Code Enforcement officers, and personnel from the California Army National Guard Counter Drug Unit.
During the service of the search warrant, 23 separate outdoor marijuana gardens were located. Approximately 4,500 marijuana plants were eradicated during this investigation. Five (5) subjects were detained during the service of the search warrant. A sixth subject ran from law enforcement and was not located. Three arrests were made and two subjects were escorted off the property with charges forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office. The following subjects were arrested and charged with felony marijuana cultivation (HS 11358 (D) (3)), Conspiracy (PC 182(a)), and Stream Alterations (FG 1602):
Cher Yang age 60
Maigole Lee age 46
Vaug Cher Chang age 42
The LLCs associated with these private parcels are still under investigation.
California Fish and Wildlife conducted a parallel investigation on these parcels and discovered sixty-nine (69) separate violations: 18 separate unpermitted stream bed alteration violations, 20 separate water diversion violations, 19 separate water pollution (trash in or near water) violations, 12 separate water pollution (discharged sediment in water) violations, and evidence related to poaching of deer.
CAL Fire officers conducted a parallel investigation and discovered the following violations:
16 separate burning of prohibited material violations and 16 timber conversion violations.
Humboldt County Code Enforcement officers conducted a parallel investigation and discovered the following violations: Grading without a permit violation, Construction without a permit violation, solid waste disposal violation, unapproved sewage disposal violation, development within a streamside area, mobile home use of place of habitation, and commercial marijuana cultivation ordinance violations.
All criminal violations stemming from the marijuana cultivation investigation will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s office for review. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office maintains a cooperative relationship with all agencies that participated in this investigation. All future investigations into non-compliant marijuana operations will continue to be investigated in this manner.
Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case 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.
Cher Yang (above)
Maigole Lee (above)
Vaug Chang (above)