Illegal cannabis operation wiped out in southern Sacramento County
Human waste, illegal pesticides and rubbish discovered in the nature reserve
On September 9, wildlife officials for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) closed an illegal cannabis operation on state property in southern Sacramento County.
Support was provided by the California Department of Justice’s Anti-Marijuana Plantation Campaign (CAMP), the National Guard, and a CDFW environmental scientist from the cannabis program.
The illegal cultivation was at the eastern end of the Cosumnes River Reserve near Highway 99 on CDFW property. This is the fifth time illegal crops have been found in the area. In 2020, an illegal cultivation with hundreds of plants near Interstate 5 and removed in 2019 Wildlife protection officers stopped an operation involving 15,000 plants.
“There is no question that enforcement measures of this kind are preventing illegal cannabis from entering the unregulated market,” said David Bess, CDFW deputy director and law enforcement officer. “This property is meant to protect wildlife resources and should not be used to grow illegal cannabis or to land in a landfill. Our native water species and wildlife deserve a lot better. “
Over 1,300 plants were wiped out as a result of this operation. Mountains of rubbish, camping equipment, two generators and three makeshift latrines were discovered. Numerous environmental violations have been documented on site by the CDFW scientist, including a sophisticated illegal water diversion and a 3-meter-deep plastic-lined mixed pond with unknown chemicals in it that could be potentially fatal to wildlife that drink from it or be caught and drown.
It is estimated that the plants were in the ground for approximately 90 days and would have been harvested within a month. Large amounts of recently purchased food and water supplies were confiscated and donated to a local food bank.
The illegal cultivation was in a sensitive wildlife habitat and alongside an ongoing research study that focused on state and state listed giant garter snakes. The property is also home to otters, western pond turtles, mule deer, gray foxes, bobcats, and hundreds of species of birds.
As a result of this multi-stakeholder operation, no suspects have yet been arrested.
CDFW encourages the public to report illicit cannabis cultivation and environmental crimes such as water pollution, water diversions and poaching to the CalTIP hotline by calling (888) 334-2258 or texting TIP411 (847411) for information.
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 207-7891