Marijuana Growers Arrested After Choosing to Water Plants Rather Than Evacuate, Says Lake County Sheriff’s Office
Information from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page:
On August 4, 2018, at approximately 1045AM, Deputies were dispatched to the Bartlett Springs Road area, in Nice. Fire crews were reporting three males in a Toyota pickup being hostile towards fire engine crews and refusing to leave the area.
When deputies arrived they contacted the engine crew. The firefighters told deputies they were attempting to fight the front line of the Ranch Fire which was approximately 20 yards from them. The three males refused to leave causing the fire crew to divert three VLAT (Very Large Air Tanker) passes. The VLAT was being used in an attempt to control the fire so it would not continue to travel to the town of Lucerne.
Deputies contacted the males who were identified as Gary Thomas Wertheimer, 41, of Nice, Steven Marshall Bell, 59, of Redwood Valley, and Travis Steven Bell, 29, of Nice. The three were watering their marijuana plants when they were contacted.
All three were arrested for Interfering with Firefighters During a Fire Operation and Unauthorized Person in an Evacuation Area and released with a citation.