On 07-08-2014, at approximately 8:00 a.m., Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Deputies and an Environmental Scientist from the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (N.C. R.W.Q.C.B.) served two Humboldt County Superior Court search warrants in the Burr Valley area. When the deputies arrived at the first location they located five greenhouses containing 800 growing marijuana plants, ranging in size from 1’ to 3’ tall. Deputies and the N.C. R.W.Q.C.B. Environmental Scientist located environmental damage on the property consisting of stream diversions, a pond, and a dam. The suspects in this case are facing criminal violations for cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale and felony criminal and civil code violations of the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act. The criminal violations of the water quality control act if convicted under section 13387 can include state prison of up to 24 months per violation, and civil penalties of $5,000.00 to $25,000.00 per day the violation occurs. Per the N.C. R.W.Q.C. B. Scientist the civil penalty for the violation in this case is estimated to be at least $200,000.00. No suspects were located at the marijuana grow site; however, the investigation is continuing.
While driving to the second search warrant location, deputies saw marijuana plants ranging from 2’ to 3’ tall being cultivated six feet off the roadway. The deputies secured the marijuana grow site and obtained a Humboldt County Superior Court search warrant. Deputies and the N.C. R.W.Q.C.B. Scientist searched the property. Deputies located 256 marijuana plants, two semi-auto handguns, both of which were loaded.
After a search of the property, it was determined significant environmental damage had occurred to the property due to unpermitted grading. The N.C. R.W.Q.C.B. Scientist and the deputies witnessed damage to streams in the area, the hillside and unpermitted roads. These environmental violations are criminal and civil code violations of the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act. The estimated civil code violations alone in this case are approximately 1.5 million dollars if convicted. Deputies were able to identify three suspects and will be seeking arrest warrants for cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony and violations of 13387 of the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act. Cal-Fire and Cal Fish and Wildlife were notified of the Resource Code Violations and will be following up. They anticipate requesting additional charges
Deputies then served the third search warrant. When they arrived at the third location, they located 874 growing marijuana plants ranging in size from 1’ to 3’ tall in two green houses and one outdoor garden. Deputies also saw unpermitted road building and removal of timber. Cal-Fire and California Fish and Wildlife were notified of the Resource Code Violations and will be following up. There was no water quality issues located at this location. Suspects have been identified in this case; however no one was located at the scene. Arrest warrants will be sought for cultivation and possession for sale of marijuana, and possible resource code violations.
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Anyone with information for the Sheriffs Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriffs Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.