On July 28 and July 29, agents of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office assisted by the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) and the United States Forest Service (USFS) responded to USFS property on Brush Mountain, Gainor Peak and Oak Knob in eastern Humboldt County after sighting marijuana being cultivated on USFS land. The deputies were also accompanied by three scientists, two from Integral Ecology Research Center, and one associated with UC Davis and Hoopa Tribal Wildlife Ecologist.
During the two days deputies seized 3,760 marijuana plants ranging in size from 18 inches to four feet. Deputies and scientists located water diversion, mounds of trash and 24 pounds of rodenticides, of which nine pounds were peanut butter flavored and 15 pounds were second generation rodenticide. Malathion and fertilizers were also located at the scenes. No suspects were located in the area of the trespass marijuana grows, however deputies obtained evidence from the scenes that is being processed and the investigation is ongoing.
The spring fed water sources, which had been diverted and used to water marijuana plants, flow into the South Fork of the Trinity River. The springs were part of a network of subterranean water sources. The scientists reported that impacts from the water diversions and chemicals used on the grows could affect Coho salmon, Chinook salmon, steelhead, foothill yellow-legged frogs and the western pond turtles.
The scientists reported the rodenticides could potentially kill fishes, Northern spotted owls, American black bears, black tailed deer and Humboldt martens.
Below are some quotes from Dr. Mourad Gabriel of the UC Davis Wildlife Ecologist/Integral Ecology Research Center, who was present with the deputies and USFS agents.
“The removal of this massive amount of killing agents within prime spotted owl and fisher habitat is pertinent for the conservation of these species.”
“The illegal diversion of this amount of water prohibits the flow of cool water into tributaries that support our salmon populations.”
In light of the current drought and high water temperatures, this represents another blow to our already taxed watersheds.”
“The remediation efforts are crucial in protecting our forest ecosystems.”
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.
Redwood Times Posted: 08/11/2014