Sheriff’s Office Eradicates 14,000+ Cannabis Plants, Arrests Bayside Man

This is a press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office. The information has not been proven in a court of law and any individuals described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty:

On July 24, 2018, deputies with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) served three search warrants to investigate illegal cannabis cultivation in Southern Humboldt. The following agencies assisted in the service of the warrants: California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Humboldt County Environmental Health and HAZMAT Unit, California State Water Board and Humboldt County Planning and Building Department. Three parcels were investigated during the service of the warrants.

Two parcels investigated were located on Blue Slide Creek Road in the Briceland area. The parcels did not possess nor were in the process of actively obtaining a commercial cannabis permit with the County of Humboldt.

During the service of the two warrants, deputies eradicated approximately 14,289 growing cannabis plants. Deputies also seized and destroyed approximately 1,030 pounds of processed cannabis and approximately 96 pounds of cannabis shake.

Between the two parcels, assisting agencies found the following violations:

– Seven stream crossing violations (up to $8,000 fine per day, per violation)

– Three water diversion violations (up to $8,000 fine per day, per violation)

– Two water pollution violations (up to $20,000 fine per day, per violation)

– Failure to prevent a hazardous waste release (up to $70,000 fine per day)

– Mismanagement of hazardous waste (up to $70,000 fine per day)

– Failure to create and file a hazmat business plan (up to $70,000 fine per day)

– Failure to take spill prevention control or counter measures (up to $70,000 fine per day)

– Failure to have secondary containment on a diesel tank (up to $70,000 fine per day)

– Commercial cannabis ordinance violations (up to $10,000 fine per day)

– Improper storage and removal of solid waste violation (up to $25,000 fine per day)

– Grading without a permit violations (up to $10,000 fine per day, per violation)

– Building code violations (up to $10,000 fine per day, per violation)

Aaron David Lieberman, 32, of Bayside, was arrested and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on charges of unauthorized cannabis cultivation and processing, streambed alteration and depositing hazardous materials into a waterway.

One parcel investigated was located in the Panther Gap area of Honeydew. Upon arrival, deputies learned that this parcel was currently in compliance with the local medical marijuana cultivation ordinance. No cannabis plants were eradicated at this site.

Assisting agencies found the following violations at this parcel:

– Seven stream crossing violations (up to $8,000 fine per day, per violation)

– Five water pollution violations (up to $20,000 fine per day, per violation)

– 10 suspected dredge or fill of waters of the United States violations (up to $10,000 fine per day, per violation)

– Five failure to file a report of discharge into state waters violations (up to $5,000 fine per day, per violation)

Additional violations associated with the three parcels are expected to be filed by the assisting agencies.

Anyone with information about these cases 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.

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98 comments

  • I would like to know if the two Blue Slide parcels were being operated together. If so, seems like a pretty big scene.

    The “legal”, “compliant” scene gets to keep their plants but still gets a list of violations and fines. They’ll need to do well to cover remediation costs plus fines adding up to as much as 281K (per day).

    I dreamed for a long time about owning a rural homestead. In a way now I’m glad I don’t. Practically every one has tens of thousands or more in looming violations, cultivation or not.

    • A permit to grow is not a permit to divert water or grade or just anything a person wants. Like a permit to build a house, it is a permit to actually do only what is legal, disclosed on the application and approved after inspection. You can’t build a 10,000 square foot house with mounted cannons just because you have a permit to build a 1200 square foot home on a city lot.

      • Not so sure this is what people who came here for forty years ago.
        What’s called an environmental crime is often a you didn’t pay us our money in fees crime.
        Aside from the risk of un contained diesel it could just have easily been a eco groovy permitted grow.
        I am guessing much of the high plant count came from the young clones in six inch pots.
        People have rallied to protect the right to build a home without a permit many times.

      • Spitting into the wind, Timmy. Spitting into the wind.

      • Aero,hydro,aguaponics use 1/10 water.1/6 fertilizer.verticle farming uses 1/10 area. NASA has nice verticle,aeroponic apparatus ,shown on Internet.alga growing consumes co2 and makes oxygen,and nutrient.prepared fertilizers poison fish.

    • I like stars, I hope more people start realizing what a slippery slope this is. like you stated most of the fines involved have nothing to do with cultivation and just about anybody who owns rural property around here is guilty of many of these violations, whether or not they grow. There’s also the issue of using satellite imagery and fishing and game to circumvent the 4th amendment. And the county will get use to levying huge fines with nothing more than a letter in the mail quite quickly, and once they get used to the proceeds involved it will be hard to get them to stop. This is exactly how freedoms get eroded, your granted special exclusions to go after the unpopular Boogeyman, but then pretty soon everybody is subject to the same special exclusions. Just look at plane travel and the TSA or the NSA’s ability to spy on people without warrants and collect Mega data, all passed under the guise of fighting terrorism yet is implemented on every citizen in the country!

      • Well said. Nice to see someone who actually has a fucking clue what liberty means. Sadly, the sheep will ignore your words of wisdom and beg for more government while accusing you of being a conspiracy theorist. War is peace, freedom is slavery.

      • Time to mount a protest.
        It worked before.

      • The elephant in the room is that the Sheriff is inundated with calls from citizens turning people in for their grows. The gloves are off and the stigma of ratting out your neighbor doesn’t exist any more.
        So, if you’ve been an asshole renegade grower being rude to your neighbors, neighborhood or subdivision and are still in production , chances are someone will turn you in.

        • If complaints drove enforcement why are ther still dozens upon dozens of un permitted dwellings allowed to exist around Redway dragging down our quality of life here?
          This is a real betrayal of the community.
          They are here for money and money alone.
          They don’t care about the neighborhoods they plunder.

          • Well, how about a protest at the planning dept? Make a date I’ll be there. I don’t have a dog in the fight per se but I support the people vs. the cash hungry govt.

      • Words of wisdom brother your the real deal. Well said!

      • @THC: I agree that the use of satellite and even drone imagery is a threat to our 4th Amendment rights. Unfortunately, the “open fields” doctrine has been in place for longer than google maps. It is my understanding that the courts have consistently upheld the theory that unreasonable searches stop at your house and appurtenant structures and there is “no reasonable expectation of privacy in an open field.” Even without a warrant, a law enforcement officer can trespass in the line of duty if there is reasonable suspicion that the law is being broken, so long as the officer doesn’t enter a dwelling or attached buildings. Crazy, huh? Seems like the availability of aerial imagery feeds the narrative that there is no more privacy outside your home.

        • Yes I’m well aware, this has also been reinforced with the Patriot Act and the NDAA, does not make it right though. Just like the government’s ability to collect Mega data on everybody and tap into cell servers without a warrant. Or the ability of fishing and game to violate the Fourth Amendment exercising a clause granted to them to fight poaching, that now all branches of state law enforcement are using as a workaround.

  • “One parcel investigated was located in the Panther Gap area of Honeydew. Upon arrival, deputies learned that this parcel was currently in compliance with the local medical marijuana cultivation ordinance. No cannabis plants were eradicated at this site.”

    You can’t really be “in compliance” and have violations. If there are violations, then you’re not in compliance, you have applied for a cannabis cultivation permit, only, and that’s not enough. Taking care of all the other things is part of coming into compliance. There’s a whole lot more to being compliant then just applying for a permit. I’m not saying it’s right to fine that much, just that saying the LEO’s found the parcel to be compliant isn’t correct. If it was compliant, there wouldn’t be any fines.

    • it sounds like the inspectors must have been blind or greased.

      • Inspectors????? Funny! I’ve seen absolute garbage grows being permitted. Remember, the county gave an interim permit to anyone who turned one in, complete or not, in good standing or not and obviously in compliance or not. I know many farms breaking laws and not in compliance, but hey have their interim, so its all good

    • Pharmstheproblem

      Courious…..

    • The plants stay but the other issues are still violations.

  • One of the things that is always disturbing in the photos is the amount of totally bare ground. My garden is a third that size and I have a constant battle, not ever even close to totally won, with weeds. How do they keep it so clear?

    • Weeds don’t grow where theres no water. Its dry anywhere thats not getting watered.

      • Doesn’t rain all summer here either but the things that put up with drought are still there. Grass maybe sparse but it grows. The land surrounding the scraped patches , including in piles of gravel and pushed up soil in the pictures, have weeds.

    • Pharmstheproblem

      Work.

    • That looks like it could be pretty fresh earth work. Some people use Roundup from after last harvest until just before starting in spring. There are also herbicides that “sterilize” the soil and act residually.

  • What agency comes up with the money amount on each violation?

    Is it arbitrary or based on something in reality?

    • Exactly! Anyone know how all this fine money is allocated? Does any of that actually go into fixing claimed damages or just paychecks to ppl? Any unbiased investigative journalist look into it besides copy/paste press releases, updates with the over-taxing lawsuit or the bribery corruption arrest?

      • I know that none of it goes into fixing the damage. these agencies require the property owner to correct the violations and pay for agency oversight while an approved consultant/contractor completes the corrections. I also know that these violations are grossly exaggerated in the press release.

      • Sleepy Alligator

        I seriously doubt that all of those fines ,if any at all, are actually being paid. I mean 10k per day is ridiculous. They print those big numbers as a way to use the media to spread their fear tactics and their propaganda so the blind citizens get all impressed and support this abuse of authority. Anyone considering paying these outrageous fines should hire themselves a great attorney with that money instead. I imagine the smart ones are already doing that.

        One thing I do know for sure is whether or not any fines are paid the authoritie’s strategy is working. All over this county people are packing their bags and high tailing it outta here as I type.

        Patience Mom and patience Pop. All we need is just a little patience.

    • I have a t-shirt that has Legality is Not Reality printed on it.

    • It’s not in accordance with the crime. 10k per violation is random, arbitrary and extreme. Illegal.
      The fine should match the crime. 10k for not having a permitted septic (outhouse), 10k for unpermitted shed (toolshed or garage?)
      This IS happening right now.

    • pasqual the rascal

      [edit]
      fines are high because the owner not just deserves them but has shown the county clearly that it is being raped.
      that calls for forfeiture/seizure
      fines that high are impossible to pay off and will be seized! then the county owns it until its auctioned off

      not that tough really to comprehend. let it sink in [edit]

  • at least they took a photo of the geni before cutting the diesel line this time, which I assume is violation #4 on the list.

  • Off to a great start this summer. Keep it up. If I was a legal compliant grower, I’d be thrilled.

  • We approach our problems today as if they were political problems, open to political solutions. We talk about them, we hold debates about them, They pass so-called ordinances and codes about them.

    When nothing changes, we seek to solve our problems through economic means. We throw money at them, or withhold money from them, as in the case of sanctions.

    When that fails we say, “Aha! This is a problem to give to the military. We’ll solve it with force.” So we shoot bullets at it and drop bombs on it. That never works, either, if a long-term solution is what anyone is looking for. But do you think we would learn?

    No. We just start the cycle all over again. So we call for a “Blue Ribbon Task Force.” or a Committee, or a Commission, and return to the negotiating table. There, we negotiate reparations and financial aid to heal the open wounds and quell the teeming masses. When that proves to be only a stopgap, we’re at it again. Bring out the guns. Bring in the body bags.

    The reason we keep running like a mouse on a wheel is that no one dares to look at the ‘cause’ of the ongoing condition we seem fated to endure.

    Either we truly don’t know, or we’re afraid to admit, that our biggest problem today is not a political problem, it’s not an economic problem, and it’s not a military problem.

    The problem facing humanity today is a spiritual problem. It has to do with humanity’s ‘beliefs.’

    Before there were classrooms, meetings, or group facilitators, there were people sitting around talking.

    “We can take courage from the fact that this is a process we all know how to do. We can also take courage in the fact that many people are longing to converse again . . . we are awakening an ancient practice, a way of being gathered that all humans intimately understand.” Misses Wheatley

    This is precisely, to the letter, what the Evolution Revolution is all about. It is a call to people everywhere, gathering in small groups of spiritual activists around the world, to ignite a global conversation that will ‘sow seeds of sanity,’ producing at last the ‘civilization of Civilization.’

    Source http://www.godsmessagetotheworld.info/

  • Go get ’em! If you pollute our waterways, you deserve to get $$$$$$ fines!

    • Don’t believe the headlines. They are throwing the book at Mom and Pops. I’ve seen it, firsthand. They go right past huge Bulgarian (permitted) grows and bust locals.
      It’s not going to stand.

  • Quick question, what if the grower or landowner can’t or won’t pay? They obviously confiscate the property but what do they do about all these “violations” is the county then responsible for fixing it all? Because no one in their right mind would purchase the property if they have to do a million dollars of restoration, especially now that real estate prices are declining rapidly. Or once the county confiscates it do they simply wave a magic wand over the paperwork and make all the infractions disappear?

    • Good questions. I don’t think even the County believes they have the slightest chance of ever seeing the money the are levying as fines.

      • They’re in it for the real estate.

        • but they can’t make money attempting to sell property that no person will buy due to the environmental infractions. “Here buy this 40 acres, the value is 200,000$ but the county requires you do 1 million $ in restoration” also, if they want to keep it for themselves for some stupid reason, are they required to now rectify the list of ridiculous charges they have levied?

          • I am sure REMIF is stoked on the amount of liability the County is taking on due to arrogance and ignorance. The county can’t even legally sell them “as is” in an auction because they are knowingly aware. this will be interesting.

            • Alt Right For Life

              They will be turned over to the Federal Government as habitat stamps that will be protected.

    • I know there are people who have been ignoring the letters since last year. Their property hasn’t come up for auction yet.

      Hopefully by the end of the year there will ge some clarity on this subject. Butte county sent out a bunch of letters years ago. There’s some properties with liens that are getting auctioned off. But most people just ignored the letters and kept blowing it up with no problems.

    • Don’t know if the if the fines will just “go away” after the confiscation of real estate, vehicles, and cash, but I’ll tell who’s next in line. The I.R.S. will soon be knocking on this lads door and then the game is afoot. They’ll put an income amount on each plant, assess how long its been going on, and strip you down to a barrel. Don’t want to pay? bye bye You see, there are debtor’s prisons in America and the I.R.S. will send you there in a heartbeat. I know——————-

      • I’ve always found it amazing that the feds can come after you for not paying income tax on money that they view as having been made through illegal activity. What are you supposed to put down on your tax form as your occupation…professional criminal?

        • Yes actually. Once saw a TR where the occupation was prostitute (not in Nevada) but there were hardly any expenses to worry about, which is the real hang up in illegal businesses. Although some that are not themselves illegal activity may pass. Al Capone was done in by failing to file tax returns too.

          I have never understood why this was not routine- a conviction followed by a tax assessment.

        • The real fun starts after you’re convicted (you will be convicted because the Feds only lose about 1% of their cases) and the first thing, after an assessment, is assigning you a salient factor (criminal history) That’s used in conjunction with a severity count. The more money or amount of product, the higher the severity. High severity and bad salient count, you’re screwed, and you will do the time, and lots of it, depending on the factors above.

        • Yes, you are supposed declare illegal income. The IRS just wants the money they don’t care how you got it…other agencies handle the criminal aspect:

          IRS Publication 17, which helps taxpayers determine how to report their income, is extremely detailed. Its section on “Other Income” has some of the most fascinating sorts of income you are obligated to report. Here are three that stand out:

          Bribes. If you receive a bribe, include it in your income.

          Illegal activities. Income from illegal activities, such as money from dealing illegal drugs, must be included in your income on Form 1040, line 21, or on Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ (Form 1040) if from your self-employment activity.

          Stolen property. If you steal property, you must report its fair market value in your income in the year you steal it unless in the same year, you return it to its rightful owner.

      • You don’t know if they are paying taxes.
        Certainly no income tax on cut down plants.

  • I think I seen this guy getting a job application at zoomies. Greedy POS

  • There’s gold in them thar hills, boy!

  • How did the Honeydew site get a permit? In mendocino you cannot get a permit with violations like that. I thought humboldt was the same….

  • Greedy greedy greedy. Leave it to a Bayside yuppy.

  • Well maybe the price will finally get back up to the 2000’s.

  • That’s a beautiful grow. I’ve seen way worse with a 100th the plant count. These cops are really screwing themselves and ultimately will lose in a class action suit. I’m all for busting out of hand environmental issues and what not but this isn’t it. I personally know someone who received a diesel spill violation when the police cut the fuel line themselves causing the spill.

  • Mendocino Mamma

    As far as any of those parcel pictures go I have seen way worse on non grow properties. How many times have you driven past the hoarders place where there’s broken down cars and garbage piled waist-deep for 20 years plus. It is just amazing at what they are calling huge violations when there are so many violations going on in just the general population as well.

    • Ah the petty thief’s lament. “Why are you picking on me when there are murderers around?” Actually there are laws about such things. A friend’s neighbor was kicked out of her home in Eureka and there was a clean up done for which she received the bill.

  • How do I file a permit to poop?

    • Pharmstheproblem

      Building dept Humboldt County

    • You go into the planning department and they pull up your parcel and say that you have a illegal structure on your property so they can’t give you a permit to poop.

    • WillSmith, you may be joking but there are still plenty of people around using outhouses. They would all be subject to a violation/fine.

  • gotta say! that’s 1 of the cleanest grow sites ive seen! guy ran a tight ship,till he didn’t get his permits it looks like!

    • Lawful growers shouldn’t need to compete with illegal grows the same as bootleggers aren’t allowed to sell booze.

    • And they drove past many messy scenes to get there. The best picture they have to rile us up is a trash cans worth of garbage.. this is bullshit. They are coming for you so don’t be smug.

  • Dear “Just Sayin”. That is NOT “beautiful grow” !! I used to live on that land before it was sold by a greedy person to a greedy grower, not interested in community or anything else besides making money. Just where that “beautiful grow “ is used to be a natural meadow right in front of where our house was. We grew on that land, organic small farm low impact herb. You & your attitude are part of the problem!

    • Sounds like you are the rat in the wood pile. Re-read your comment as youbprove you are hating. Just becuAse it’s not a small grow doesn’t mean it’s not a well grown , organized farm. The photo of so called junk laying around is laughable. I’m glad you pin pointed yourself for all the neighbors to know that you’re just a hater. And yes I’ve seen 50 plant farms that would make this look like a pharmaceutical laboratory.

  • How is it you can apply for a grow permit and start growing and developing a seen before the permit is approved? You cant apply for a building permit pay your fees and start building. The whole point of the permit is to make sure all the entities are happy, bldg dept, public works, cdf, tax man, fish and game etc.

    • That is what I did. After being run around in so many ways, including plant inventory, soil assessment, archeological review, endangered species inventory, septic and water systems, the permit was approved. I paid the fees and started building. Then came a series of inspections at determined points, finding of fault, fixing, re inspection finding then on to the next system and the next inspection. And the next. And the next. A final inspection then occupancy allowed.

      It was costly, stressful.

    • Yes first you get an interim permit. Then you get the permits to repair all of the environmental concerns and and follow up on all of the rules and regulations.

  • Sorry to read about your troubles, but you got too greedy, karma’s got a lesson to teach you! 😟

  • At some point you have to STOP doing the same thing and expecting different results.

    The Internal Revenue Scam is one of them. IRS is not licensed in this state to do business. If force is needed the clueless Order Follower Sheriff carries out the NOTICE of lien. Why? Because IRS can never perfect a lien thru court proceedings. It’s called Due Process.

    A NOTICE of a lien, is NOT a lien.

    HumCo also does Not have a Recorder, guess who presto-chango records that NOTICE as a court ordered lien.

    The IRS alphabet agency has no jurisdiction whatsoever in any state of the union.

    Meet Sherry Peel Jackson – former IRS agent https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooHTg6-Y078 10 mins.

  • A lot of these “permitted” grows are just black market greenrushers trying to game the system for a year or two and sell to that guy from Chicago. This one got a mid summer inspection. Shouldn’t they all?

    • YES. Every neighbor of mine who has a ‘permit’ is completely black market. There is no track and trace in place and no follow up on workers legality or anything else. It’s business as usual and they think they have a pass since they are paying their dues. What a crock of shit. Watch the permitted growers. They are the criminals.

      • Thank you for saying this publicly! It’s true among people I know too! The county is engaged in knocking off their competition- not in a legal CA market but in illegal national sales! That’s the bitter reality and the Big Lie out of Ford’s mouth down at the Planning Dept. …He and the supes should all be indicted under federal conspiracy laws. They are accepting payment to act as enforcers against the competition and to protect these federally illegal drug production farms. Truth.

      • silly human race

        Neighbors turning on neighbors. “Roll the Ugliness”

        • Neighbors turning on neighbors – as “Anonymous” snitches. Which, btw, was outlawed hundreds of years ago.

          Snitches, as fact witnesses to a crime (rape, murder, theft) don’t have what it takes to file an Affidavit that could produce a valid LAWFUL warrant. Hearsay to get an invalid warrant, signed by a judicial whore, is really low-life scumbags working the @System@

          A warrant is Not a fishing expedition.

        • If neighbors did a better job of policing their neighborhoods themselves we wouldn’t be in the shitshow we are now in.

  • 16 lighter raising up the last restuffs…. a herd of hoopties mid-bud, and 1000 lb in the bag already ! ? N Basically he was killin it..

    • Basically he was killing the land, our community and all of us. Screw this greed. And I mean the permitted mega-grows too. When the mentality here became that “killing it” was cool….our scene was doomed.

      • Westside Riders Baby

        No he wasn’t. You wouldn’t know killing the land if you seen it becuAse you drive by mono cropped vineyards on your way to San Fran or clear cuts. You are really in LA LA land if you think this is environmental distruction. You are crazy.

  • diccslap in you face

    yes property seizures are next. we can all agree scum like this shouldn’t own any . at least not in the Humboldt hills

  • Stop blocking,my comments you clit!

  • Just tack on to the cost of a joint.i can afford it.but the fish are croaking.the environmental damage caused by exploiting hum bolts timber wealth should be treated same.i little more expensive pot I can handle. But the fish are different.fining the timber rich could pay for importation of plankton,inland,for the stupid fish.

  • So what happened to “It’s the cartels” dang cum Mexicans and all that horse shit?

  • Compliance is key. Reading all the comments, there are Mom & Pop grows, and there are multi site grows. Many growers in Humboldt have ignored the permit timelines, there are still permits available (Humboldt Ordinance 2.0) for growers who wish to seek compliance. Getting caught, and getting cited is just not worth it.

    We already know that there is surveillance, anonymous phone calls, nosy neighbors trespassing and calling in possible violators, there are drones, and theres the satellite imagery looking for grow sites.

    Knowing all of this, the time has come to seek an interim permit and become compliant before the man shows up asking a bunch of questions. Each and every one of us will have to make a decision whether or not we intend to comply, or not. This is not a witch hunt, the County is inspecting properties based on environmental and safety factors… remember that everything requires a permit and/or some sort of licensing.

    Before a property is visited by Fish and Wildlife, County HAZMAT, Fire Inspector, or Building and Planning, a grower should actively seek a permit or a license in order to keep the man from showing up uninvited. The first visit from the County is usually a Compliance visit, the second and third visits are usually Enforcement visits.

    Whether or not we wish to comply is a personal decision, regardless we all must practice some common courtesy. Lets go back to being good neighbors, there are a ton of new faces, the growing industry has changed, and will continue to change, and continue to grow with cannabis and hemp grows. Now is the time to invest by getting your permits filed in a timely manner, and finally get some peace of mind and catching up on some much needed zzzzzz’s.

  • So here it is. Bring your property compliant with all the other regulations, water, building, roads, take the year off if you can. But don’t apply for the ‘cultivation’ permit. What happens then? ✌🏽️

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