CDFW News | More than 150 environmental crimes documented during Trinity County cannabis enforcement operation

More than 150 environmental crimes documented during Trinity County cannabis enforcement operation

During the week of June 26, officials from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office, and the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office worked together to serve 34 search warrants in the Mad River, Kettenpom, and Zenia areas of southern Trinity County . The arrest warrants were part of an investigation into environmental crimes linked to illegal cannabis cultivation.

Additional support for the operation was provided by the California National Guard, the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office, the State Water Resources Control Board, and CDFW environmental scientists.

Prior to the service of the search warrants, a desk review of the properties was conducted to determine what steps may have been taken to obtain a state cannabis cultivation license. In all 34 cases, no county permits or state licenses were issued to cultivate or manufacture commercial cannabis.

When final numbers were tallied, CDFW scientists assisting with the operation documented more than 150 environmental violations, including illegal water diversions, large-scale illegal sorting, sediment discharge into rivers, introduction of petroleum products and garbage into watersheds, and use of hazardous rodenticides and pesticides . Many of these violations directly impacted national forests.

“Our staff and county partners have done a wonderful job conducting this investigation in a very rural area of ​​Trinity County,” said David Bess, CDFW associate director and chief of law enforcement. “The numerous environmental crimes associated with these operations are staggering but not surprising. Illegal operators of this nature are detrimental to our native fish and wildlife and those who legally grow cannabis.”

In all, officials eradicated 84,150 illegal cannabis plants and destroyed more than 5,419 pounds of illegally processed cannabis. Six firearms were also confiscated and a laboratory used to extract butane honey oil was dismantled.

Several people were arrested, interrogated and later released pending arraignment at the Trinity County District Attorney’s Office.

Since 2018, CDFW and its partners have eradicated more than 19.2 million illegal cannabis plants and destroyed 918,591 pounds of illegally processed cannabis nationwide.

CDFW encourages the public to report environmental crimes such as illegal water diversion, water pollution and poaching to the CalTIP hotline by calling (888) 334-2258 or texting information to “TIP411” (847411).


Media contact:
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 207-7891

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