32 Suspects Detained, Two With Fake Police Badges, in DFW Bust of Marijuana Grow in Trinity County

Information from the Department of Fish and Wildlife:

On Nov. 6, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) served a search warrant on a black-market marijuana cultivation operation at the 1700 block of Hidden Valley Road in Trinity County.

The property contained an unpermitted water diversion, water pollution violations, over 900 unprocessed growing marijuana plants and 5,069 pounds of untested black-market marijuana bud.

water tanks 2

During routine flights over Trinity County, CDFW observed more than 600 marijuana plants and numerous large water tanks with a large black irrigation hose leading into dense vegetation along a creek. CDFW verified that the grow was unlicensed by the state and unpermitted by the county. A record check on the property showed no CDFW Lake or Streambed Alteration Agreement (LSAA) had been filed, no state license to grow marijuana and no attempt to legitimize the operation in the county.

CDFW’s Watershed Enforcement Team (WET), which includes a combination of law enforcement officers and scientific staff, inspected the property and detained 32 suspects. Some of the suspects were armed and wearing bullet proof vests. Two suspects had a fake police officer badge. Eleven were booked into Trinity County jail on multiple felony charges related to environmental crimes. The others were released.

Eleven Fish and Game Code violations were documented including a substantial water diversion from a tributary to the South Fork Trinity River, which provides critical breeding and juvenile rearing habitats for steelhead trout, Chinook Salmon, and several species of aquatic amphibians, including the Foothill yellow-legged frog, a candidate for state threatened species status.

Water diversion.

Water diversion. [Photo from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife]

The water diversion consisted of a large hose that was actively funneling water to multiple water storage tanks. Unpermitted water diversions like this are capable of dewatering streams during the summer months, which can reduce or eliminate the reproductive success of the aquatic species that rely on these habitats.“Black-market grows prevent legitimized cultivators from thriving, harm California’s sensitive natural resources with diverted waterways and illegal pesticides and put untested cannabis products on the black-market,” said David Bess, Deputy Director and Chief of the CDFW Law Enforcement Division. “We support the legal cannabis market where cultivators obtain permits, take action to prevent environmental impacts and comply with applicable state and local laws.”CDFW collaborated with the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office, the Trinity County Environmental Health Department and the US Forest Service on the mission. CDFW would like to remind the public to report environmental crimes such as water pollution, water diversions and poaching to the 24/7 CalTIP hotline at (888) 334-2258.

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65 comments

  • Wow! A press release from CDFW? Perhaps pressure from a certain redhead is working. Good job Kym!

  • “Black-market grows prevent legitimized cultivators from thriving”

    No. You’re ridiculous over-regulation does. Regulation breeds cronyism. Look it up.

  • Ironic that marijuana legalization has created in reality the mega grows in the forests we have been told about for the last 40 years.

    Busting them illegal mega grows is a big time industry as we head for corporate controlled pot.

    For some reason this brings to mind the thought “Why can’t we have nice things”. Alas.

    Like the idea of smaller growers on the fine wine model.

    • Sharpen your pencil

      Lol, you do realize the fine wine small scale you speak of is still acres of vines, right? As opposed to many single acre plots that exist in the Rec Weed market…. Which are the farms thriving under the legit rec market….. You people really need to get out of your own head!

  • Did they put all the water back in the creek? It’s wasted sitting in those tanks. Send it back to nature!

    • you think the tanks were full at this time of year when they still had that many growing plants? i’m sure they were using it as quickly as they were stealing it.

  • 32 suspects detained…and then released, to do it again. I feel sorry for law enforcement, they must feel like they are wasting their time. It would probably be more effective to stop enforcing the laws and let the free market drive prices down to the price of a carrot.

    • how many vehicles does it take to book eleven at a remote grow? Does trinity county have that many vehicles, and if so are any left for other calls? integrity levels are reaching all time lows.

      • [edit] if it was only trinity county involved this bust probably wouldn’t have even happened. CDFW was the leader with help from TCSO and the u.s. forest service whose mad river ranger station is only about 15min from this grow.. so there were plenty of vehicles.. and you obviously dont know anything about the TCSO .. they never answer calls anyway. [edit]

      • I’m pretty sure they can squeeze more than 1 body into a unit. Maybe even more than 2.

    • No money seized.or followed.i could do better.

  • outrageous, to turn the most beutiful rural areas into sleazy pot plantations.
    No sense of spirituality or permaculture, just little crooks and capitalists, the true McKinley’s of our time.

    • Sharpen your pencil

      You got all that from a picture of 5 water tanks and a single small pump inlet? Your investigative skills are impeccable!

      • The Hermit of Grizzly Mountain

        The name of the road and the river narrow down the location quite a bit, and PinkAsso nailed it down, below.
        I’m not Defending Canyon Oak’s comment, just sayin’.

  • Cool Read! Who were the 32 suspects? Illegal aliens? Islam ? Whitey boy redneck? Uri Vladstov ? ?And +5,000 Pounds? Wondering which is worth more to Lea, plant or the product, when Lea waits too long to bust like playing a card game hoping to win by finding the product. Somewhere out there were 5,000 plants usually the product disappears at harvest, somebody must of had a royal flush!

    • OR the price is so low grow sites are camping on their product!!! I just figured it out. No LeA play cards, they are analytical.

  • It would be hard to say what is in the water now. I’d hope it’s tested for chemicals before its returned to the water shed

  • And not one 1 one you commented on the loss of fish or other species . good job not giving a shit about anything but your own voices .

    • The fish are going down whether it’s from toxic chemicals in the ocean or in the mountains. Heres a clue. Toxic chemicals made by multi national corporations…try focusing on the producers of these toxins instead the end user. Is there really any other way to look up stream for the problem?

      • i think we should be focusing on the users AND manufacturers.. why would we choose one or the other? they all deserve to be doused with the chemicals they’re using or making. i agree that the manufacturers are hugely to blame but if it wasn’t being purchased then they wouldn’t be making it.. right? the user controls exactly where and how the poison is spread so they are just as much to blame. why choose one or the other to focus on when both are part of the problem?

      • You are talking about manufacturers of goods with valid uses being held responsible for people who misuse their products. Or still using products banned as far as authority can do so. Which is what environmental laws try to do- keep beneficial and necessary products abpvailable while keeping products with no reasonable good from being used where and when they cause damage. It is not a perfect solution but it is certainly better than letting greedy individual create huge cumulative damage and excusing themselves by saying others are worse. Or in this case that the blame belongs to those who made products that they misused. Criminals always twist things so the blame is placed elsewhere.

      • Local fertilizer business feeds HAB.

    • Fish are fruit,HAB is root of problem.follow the bloom ,right up your river.

  • I like stars too!

    Plastic tanks should be strictly regulated, and each one should have a registration # and a locator chip!

    How many of these things exist, anyway?

    Years and years of tanks have been shipped, and they still arrive every day.

    There is no way to fill your tank, except by diverting a source of water!

    Guess what California? You missed yet another way to regulate the completely out of control pot farmers of Northern CA!

  • AWESOME! ..*THANK YOU CDFW*.. i am so happy to hear they busted these earthrapers.. fuck them! i live right on the other side of the mountain. this is by far one of the most beautiful areas of trinity county. south fork mountain has the largest trees in trinity and tons of wildlife. it’s pretty pathetic how all the growers complain about these busts when i don’t think there’s been a single one that hasn’t been diverting water.. obviously the complainers are selish water stealers too and don’t care much about wildlife or the earth.. but then we already knew this.

    • Humans are definitely parasites. Mao, polpot, stalin, and Hitler to name a few, had a means to an end . The toxins are made to clean up the parasites and parasitic behavior. Georgia Guidestones say so much about the view from the top.

  • Pulling water out of the stream this late in the season is truely criminal! Wearing bullet proof vests? Two had fake law enforcement badges? These guys were up to NO good!

  • No names of the arrested?another thorough report from cdfw

  • How many grows are like this in trinity co? Thousands. How many like this in the emerald triangle? Tens of thousands. Yes you can still get away with it and make millions. Chances of getting busted is about 7/1000. Roll em out boys! This is why legalizing is not working, and never will. Even the legal guys will be manipulating the system to supply as much as they can to the black market? Why? Because that’s where the money is, and in the drug trade…. it’s all about the money!

  • From the Real Estate listing.

    “Water rights from a near by creek support the need to supply household water & irrigation for raising crops or livestock.”

    Somebody didn’t pay the water-rights fees ?

  • Good! I’m glad they got this mega-grow. Cops should have been doing stuff like this for the last 15 years. Now…TRACK N TRACE those HUGE permitted mega-grows. That is the end of the equation that is breeding most criminality and corruption at this point. And yes- most of the people holding the HUGE permits are quite unsavory and destructive. They only got there by doing majorly ugly greedy mega-grows and destroying our community and environment. Why is the county protecting them from TRACK N TRACE and allowing them to dump thousands of pounds on the underground market?

  • It would be nice if Trinity County put booking lists on line like Humboldt County does.

  • Looking a little farther afield and beyond cannabis, I wonder when CDFW will go after the ranchers in the Scott Valley for dewatering endangered coho habitat on the Scott River and its tributaries almost every fall so these ranchers can get just one last cutting of water sucking crops such as hay and alfalfa…

    • As I am sure you know, unfortunately they have grandfathered water rights. Yes it’s a problem, but no the government isn’t out to just get the weed growers. They’re out to get the people that they legally can stop from taking the water.

  • Logic before authority.

    “When you see that in order to produce, you need permission from men who produce nothing —
    When you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors —
    When you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you–
    When you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becomes a self-sacrifice —
    YOU MAY KNOW THAT YOUR SOCIETY IS DOOMED.”

  • This bunch owns a half dozen more of these sites nearby one even has an airstrip

  • Shitty strain if it still needs to be in the ground Nov 6. Get it together

    • since the number is 900, id say late season run sea of green light dep of some OG. Proabaly had propane heaters and supplemental lights going. Even though I disagree with said style growing, I’m sure he had it pretty dialed in.

      That or some shitty…

  • Do any of you growers justifying this get it? It hasn’t rained in months, the South Fork trinity is 20% lower than it has ever been in THE HISTORY of documentation (over 100 years worth of records) and you guys are justifying these scumbags pulling about 1% of the remaining water in the South Fork. Some would say our planet is inevitably screwed, but I think it is plenty salvageable, but it needs some accountability from you guys.

    It’s time to realize the government is not ‘out to get you’ and countless members of the scientific community back what CDFW is doing because is the only means to putting a bandaid solution in until better water management policy can be enforced or the market economics change and the growers leave.

    Divert all the water you want once it rains, but don’t touch it before then.

    • In my 1911 I trust

      You may not divert water from May 1st to Oct. 31st. Its November now, so by the laws own standards that diversion was happening during the correct time of year. Maybe DFW should’ve busted them in October when diverting was illegal. There are plenty of ranchers using water as of this time on South Fork, even some of your neighbors. Maybe you should have a talk with them and tell them not to let their cows drink till it rains. Otherwise get rid of your double standard. Just sayin.

      • I think they should update the law to be based on flows, not the date. And I 100% agree that the ranchers need to be held to the same standards and share some accountability. It’s a little harder because of their grandfathered water rights, of course, so we have to mostly bank on their goodwill. The growers are explicitly illegal, so I think going after them first makes total sense while we simultaneously try to fix the legislation.

      • CDFW originally issued forbearance periods of May 15th to October 15th. It is now being set from April 1st to October 31st. The Diversion period is set from November 1st to March 31st (212 days), subject to change depending on the instream flow. This new forbearance period was defined in the State Water Resources Control Board (Order WQ 2017-0023-DWQ).

  • Automation will take over,no need for katrachos.

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