News Flash

Sheriff's Office

Posted on: August 17, 2021

79 environmental violations, 64K+ cannabis plants found during week of MET watershed investigations

MET logo press

During the week of August 9-12, 2021, deputies with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Marijuana Enforcement Team (MET) conducted multiple investigations into illegal cannabis cultivation in watersheds determined to be critical spawning streams for spring chinook salmon, fall chinook salmon, coho salmon, trout and steelhead. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California State Water Resources Control Board, Humboldt County Code Enforcement, Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services Environmental Health – Hazmat Unit and the California National Guard assisted in the service of the warrants.

Numerous parcels were investigated during the service of the search warrants in the South Fork Trinity River, East Branch, Steelhead Creek, Mad River, Van Duzen and Little Larrabee Creek/Van Duzen watersheds. None of the parcels investigated possessed the required county permit and state license to cultivate cannabis commercially.

In total, deputies eradicated over 64,000 illegally grown cannabis plants and documented approximately 79 environmental violations, including 42 water diversion violations, 24 depositing trash into a waterway violations and 13 water pollution violations. During the service of the search warrants, environmental scientists and law enforcement found and documented severe damage to the watersheds. Environmental scientists found numerous deceased wildlife and located Coastal Giant Salamander larvae in a water diversion pool.

Illegal cultivation activities during a drought year put an inordinate amount of pressure on already strained fish and wildlife resources. The HCSO Marijuana Enforcement Team’s eradication efforts and partners’ environmental investigations help to conserve salmon and steelhead habitat critical for species survival.

The following statistics and photographs were recorded during these investigations.

1. South Fork Trinity River Watershed

On August 9, deputies served two warrants on parcels in the Blake Mountain area of Eastern Humboldt County. During the service of the warrants, deputies eradicated approximately 6,591 illegally grown cannabis plants. Deputies also located two firearms, a bullet proof vest, and numerous dead squirrels and wildlife. At one of the parcels, deputies located a pregnant flying squirrel that had been nailed to a wall on the side of a building. The squirrel appeared to have been killed within 48 hours prior to the search warrant. The squirrel was sent to a CDFW laboratory for testing as it appeared to have been poisoned.

Assisting agencies found the following violations:

  • Seventeen (17) water diversion violations (up to $8,000 fine per day, per violation);
  • Eight (8) depositing trash in or near a waterway violations (up to $20,000 fine per day, per violation).
Dead Flying SquirrelDead Flying Squirrel nailed to a building located at an illegal cultivation site.

Water being diverted to cannabis growWater being diverted for illegal cannabis cultivation.Growing cannabisIllegally grown cannabis plants.
 Water being diverted to cannabis growWater being diverted for illegal cannabis cultivation.




While environmental scientists and Fish and Wildlife wardens were locating and documenting illegal water diversions on the parcel being searched, an individual began firing multiple rounds from an AK-47 towards the investigating parties. Upon hearing shots fired, deputies responded to provide life-safety assistance. No one was injured during the incident.

Deputies secured a search warrant for the property from which the shots had been fired and made contact with the suspected shooter, 27-year-old Bryant Randall Hall. Hall was found to be in possession of an AK-47, a handgun and high-capacity magazines. While investigating, deputies found the location on the property from which the shooting occurred and collected 30 spent casings. Next to the location of the shooting, deputies found a large water diversion.

The property on which the shooting occurred contained a large-scale state and county permitted cannabis cultivation site. The water diversion was documented and removed from the watershed. None of the cannabis plants were eradicated at this parcel at the time of the investigation. The information was forwarded to the Department of Cannabis Control and the Humboldt County Planning and Building Department for further action.

Hall was arrested and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on charges of discharge of a firearm in gross neglect (PC 246.3(a)), assault with a firearm on a person (PC 245(a)(2)), possession of a high-capacity magazine (PC 32310) and streambed alteration (FG 1602(a)).

AK-47 found during investigationAK-47 found during investigationSpent shell casings on the groundSpent shell casings on the groundWater being diverted to cannabis growWater being diverted for illegal cannabis cultivation.
Water being diverted to cannabis growWater being diverted for illegal cannabis cultivation.Water being diverted to cannabis growWater being diverted for illegal cannabis cultivation.Water being diverted to cannabis growWater being diverted for illegal cannabis cultivation.
HALL Booking PhotoBryant Randall Hall Booking Photo | Humboldt County Correctional Facility


2. East Branch and Steelhead Creek Watersheds

On August 10, deputies investigated six parcels in the East Branch and Steelhead Creek Watersheds. During the service of the warrants, deputies eradicated approximately 10,250 illegally grown cannabis plants. Deputies seized and destroyed approximately 1,042 pounds of processed cannabis and 15 pounds of cannabis bud. Deputies also located and seized three firearms.

Assisting agencies found the following violations:

  • Four (4) water diversion violations (up to $8,000 fine per day, per violation);
  • Three (3) depositing trash in or near a waterway violations (up to $20,000 fine per day, per violation).
Water being diverted to cannabis growWater being diverted for illegal cannabis cultivation.Diversion removed and water flowingWater flowing after diversion was removed.Illegal cannabis cultivationPanorama photo of illegally grown cannabis plants.


3. Mad River and Van Duzen Watersheds

On August 11, deputies investigated six parcels in the Mad River and Van Duzen Watersheds. During the service of the warrants, deputies eradicated approximately 14,049 illegally grown cannabis plants. Deputies seized and destroyed approximately 1,022 pounds of processed cannabis, 120 pounds of cannabis bud and over 327 pounds of cannabis shake. Additionally, at the property in the Mad River Watershed, deputies located a bottle of Carbofuran, which is a deadly pesticide that is banned in the United States.  

Assisting agencies found the following violations:

  • Thirteen (13) water diversion violations (up to $8,000 fine per day, per violation);
  • Four (4) water pollution violations (up to $20,000 fine per day, per violation);
  • One (1) depositing trash in or near a waterway violations (up to $20,000 fine per day, per violation).
Bottle of CarbofuranBottle of Carbofuran, a deadly pesticide that is illegal in the United States.Water being diverted to cannabis growWater being diverted for illegal cannabis cultivation.Trash associated with cannabis cultivation abandoned into and next to a season stream (2)Trash associated with cannabis cultivation abandoned into and next to a season stream.
Growing cannabis plantsillegally grown cannabis plants.

 

4. Little Larrabee Creek/ Van Duzen Watershed

On August 12, deputies investigated four parcels in the Little Larrabee Creek/ Van Duzen Watershed. During the service of the warrants, deputies eradicated approximately 33,959 illegally grown cannabis plants. Deputies seized and destroyed over 1,366 pounds of processed cannabis and 107 pounds of cannabis bud. Deputies also located and seized eight firearms.

Assisting agencies found the following violations:

  • Eight (8) water diversion violations (up to $8,000 fine per day, per violation);
  • Twelve (12) depositing trash in or near a waterway violations (up to $20,000 fine per day, per violation);
  • Nine (9) water pollution violations (up to $20,000 fine per day, per violation).
Unscreened irrigation line(see Red Arrow) used to divert majority of remaining surface water to illeUnscreened irrigation line (see Red Arrow) used to divert majority of remaining surface water to illegal cannabis.Unpermitted Stream Crossing and Abandoned trashUnpermitted Stream Crossing and abandoned trash.Trash and impoundment placed in tributary of little Larrabee CreekTrash and impoundment placed in tributary of little Larrabee Creek.
4_2 Trash and impoundment placed in tributary of little Larrabee CreekTrash and impoundment placed in tributary of little Larrabee Creek.Water pump used to divert water from Little Larabee Creek to water illegal cannabisWater being diverted for illegal cannabis cultivation.Coastal Giant Salamander larvaeCoastal Giant Salamander larvae, obligate aquatic species that required perennial cold clean water for successful larval rearing and reproduction, observed in water diversion pool.


These cases will be forwarded to the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office for review. 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 Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at (707) 445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at (707) 268-2539.

Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in Sheriff's Office

star 1080

Attempted murder arrest in McKinleyville

Posted on: September 14, 2021
star 1080

Suspicious death investigation in Blue Lake

Posted on: September 11, 2021
star 1080

Myrtletown burglary arrest

Posted on: August 5, 2021
star 1080

Stolen vehicle recovery in Eureka

Posted on: August 2, 2021
star 1080

Fraudulent letter investigation

Posted on: July 30, 2021
star 1080

Eel River Drowning Investigation

Posted on: July 27, 2021
star 1080

Trinity River Drowning Investigation

Posted on: July 26, 2021
Missing woman Sky Vrbas

At-Risk Missing Person Found

Posted on: July 20, 2021
star 1080

Airplane crash investigation update

Posted on: July 16, 2021
Cenname Booking Photo

Theft investigation leads to arrest

Posted on: July 12, 2021
Cross Booking Photo

Possession of Stolen Vehicle Arrest

Posted on: July 12, 2021
MCMAHON BOOKING PHOTO

Orick homicide suspect arrested

Posted on: July 7, 2021
foley

Missing Person Investigation

Posted on: June 30, 2021
MAGUIRE booking photo

Car prowler arrest in Cutten

Posted on: June 29, 2021
star 1080

Orick homicide investigation update

Posted on: June 29, 2021
star 1080

Orick homicide investigation

Posted on: June 24, 2021
burglary suspects

ATM stolen during airport burglary

Posted on: June 23, 2021
long booking photo

King Salmon Burglary Arrest

Posted on: June 22, 2021
star 1080

Missing woman located deceased

Posted on: June 22, 2021
star 1080

Attempted vehicle theft arrest

Posted on: June 15, 2021
star 1080

Battery arrest

Posted on: May 17, 2021
Imitation Firearm compared to a real firearm

BB gun assault in King Salmon

Posted on: May 7, 2021
star 1080

Blocksburg Shooting Investigation

Posted on: May 4, 2021
SOTELO Booking Photo

Eureka pursuit arrest

Posted on: April 28, 2021
HURD Booking Photo

Improper use of 911 arrest

Posted on: April 26, 2021
star 1080

Stolen vehicle pursuit

Posted on: April 26, 2021
star 1080

Garberville Armed Robbery

Posted on: April 26, 2021
capture00 (2)

Orick gas theft

Posted on: April 23, 2021
star 1080

McKinleyville Robbery Investigation

Posted on: April 22, 2021
king salmon

Stabbing Investigation in King Salmon

Posted on: April 21, 2021
star 1080

McKinleyville Shooting Investigation

Posted on: April 20, 2021
star 1080

Willow Creek water rescue

Posted on: April 2, 2021
sand booking photo

Attempted murder arrest

Posted on: April 2, 2021
PRINCE Booking Photo

McKinleyville car prowler arrest

Posted on: March 26, 2021
Sheriff Star

Carjacking Investigation

Posted on: March 15, 2021
ORSENICO booking photo

Brandishing Arrest

Posted on: March 12, 2021
Sheriff Star

King Salmon Water Rescue

Posted on: March 11, 2021
AUBREY booking photo

Traffic stop leads to warrant arrest

Posted on: March 9, 2021
AGUIRRE Booking Photo

Drug smuggling arrest

Posted on: March 3, 2021
THURSTON Booking Photo

McKinleyville assault arrest

Posted on: March 1, 2021
KLEINER Booking Photo

Assault with a deadly weapon arrest

Posted on: March 1, 2021
LEE Booking Photo

Stolen vehicle arrest

Posted on: February 17, 2021
LEWIS_DERRICK_2

Weitchpec Shooting Investigation Update

Posted on: February 17, 2021
COLEGROVE Booking Photo

Hoopa attempted homicide arrest

Posted on: February 16, 2021
Sheriff Star

Shooting investigation near Weitchpec

Posted on: February 16, 2021
Sheriff Star

Bear River Homicide Investigation

Posted on: February 11, 2021
Sheriff Star

Dog attack investigation

Posted on: February 8, 2021
WILKINSON booking photo

Motorcycle pursuit ends in arrest

Posted on: February 1, 2021
Sheriff Star

Dog attack investigation

Posted on: January 29, 2021
Sheriff Star

Bell Springs Road Death Investigation

Posted on: January 27, 2021
TITUS BOOKING PHOTO 2021

Attempted murder suspect arrested

Posted on: January 26, 2021
SALAS BOOKING PHOTO

Hoopa Traffic Stop Arrest

Posted on: January 25, 2021
MAUPIN booking photo

Southern Humboldt Traffic Stop Arrest

Posted on: January 25, 2021
HAWKINS

McKinleyville missing person investigation

Posted on: December 18, 2020
Sheriff Star

McKinleyville Assault Investigation

Posted on: December 14, 2020
Mailboxes lined up on the side of a road

Protect yourself from holiday mail theft

Posted on: December 10, 2020
Sheriff Star

North Jetty Search and Recovery

Posted on: December 8, 2020
Sheriff Star

Headwaters Forest Search and Rescue

Posted on: December 7, 2020
Sheriff Star

HCSO seeking suspect in Arcata assault

Posted on: December 7, 2020
Sheriff Star

Humboldt Bay Boating Rescue

Posted on: December 4, 2020
ROUNTREE booking photo

Orick brandishing arrest

Posted on: December 4, 2020
Scam Alert

Beware of scams this holiday season

Posted on: December 3, 2020