Poison and Garbage Cleared From Possible ‘Cartel’ Grow on Public Lands

Video of yesterday’s clean up on Paradise Ridge provided by a reader.

Yesterday, a crew removed the remains of what BLM said was a cartel* grow from Southern Humboldt. The growers, BLM said, dammed streams, added a deadly pesticide to the resulting ponds, and treated their marijuana plants with the mixture.

One morning last August, officers slipped into a campsite on public land in the Paradise Ridge area of Southern Humboldt. Two sleeping suspects awoke to law enforcement surrounding their tents. The two were arrested and 933 marijuana plants were eradicated from their nearby garden.


Two suspects from Ukiah were arrested.

But, said JD Updegraff, a spokesperson for BLM, there were “several thousands pounds of garbage and multiple bottles of carbofuran were found.” Carbofuran is an extremely toxic pesticide. Updegraff says it is “very deadly to wildlife. I’ve seen dead black bear, dead deer. It’s the reason why the fisher population is pretty much gone here. It is also deadly to people in general.”

According to Joe Crane, a BLM ranger, “An [earlier] cleanup crew came in and bagged up all the trash and all the waterline and everything that was left behind from the grow.” That crew hiked out “one and a half tons of garbage,” Crane said. But then a serious rainstorm impeded their work. Yesterday, a helicopter, he said, was brought in to finish the job. “We netted it up and flew it off.”

The crews are done with the big trash, Crane explained. “Everything is cleaned up. No more helicopters.”

But, there is still an “ongoing clean up” for the  carbofuran. The public doesn’t want to be going down there just yet,” Crane explained. “The poison has to sit before it can be moved.”

Updegraff said that the workers at what he described as a Cartel site were mixing carbofuran into ponds made from damned up streams. He said the grow site was “a really bad one.”

*Note: The BLM spokesperson we talked with were unable to explain what had identified the grow as being connected to a cartel.

Earlier Chapter: Quiet Officers Surprise Two Suspects



  • Sickening, no comment necessary, but of course there will be the inevitable verbose hand wringing. (Now, where did THAT expression come from?)
    ’70’s hippies, what have you WROUGHT?
    I know, I know, don’t blame mom ‘n pop though their kids were out of control and probably still are.
    Money, baby–got enough? ‘Course not.

  • Holy kitty cats – mixing carbofuran in the CREEK? That’s unbelievable…..BTW, the major Fisher depopulation has already been accredited to use of D-Con rodenticide of the 2nd generation anticoagulant class, but I’m sure insecticides like this don’t help!!

  • That’s a lot of trash…

  • A little bit about Carbofuran from Wikipedia. If you smoke that stuff, maybe you ought to know what’s in it. Just saying…. a quarter teaspoon is fatal to a human….

    Carbofuran is one of the most toxic carbamate pesticides. It is marketed under the trade names Furadan, by FMC Corporation and Curater, among several others. It is used to control insects in a wide variety of field crops, including potatoes, corn and soybeans. It is a systemic insecticide, which means that the plant absorbs it through the roots, and from here the plant distributes it throughout its organs where insecticidal concentrations are attained. Carbofuran also has contact activity against pests.

    May 2009 EPA cancelled all food tolerances, an action which amounts to a de facto ban on its use on all crops grown for human consumption.

    Toxicity to vertebrates
    Carbofuran is highly toxic to vertebrates with an oral LD50 of 8–14 mg/kg in rats[12] and 19 mg/kg in dogs.

    Carbofuran is known to be particularly toxic to birds. In its granular form, a single grain will kill a bird. Birds often eat numerous grains of the pesticide, mistaking them for seeds, and then die shortly thereafter. Before the granular form was banned by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1991,[13] it was blamed for millions of bird deaths per year. The liquid version of the pesticide is less hazardous to birds since they are not as likely to ingest it directly, but it is still very hazardous.

    Carbofuran has been illegally used to intentionally poison wildlife in the US, Canada and Great Britain; poisoned wildlife have included coyotes, kites, golden eagles and buzzards. Secondary fatal poisoning of domestic and wild animals has been documented,[14][15] specifically, raptors (bald eagles and golden eagles), domestic dogs, raccoons, vultures and other scavengers. In Kenya, farmers are using carbofuran to kill lions and other predators.[11][16]

    In a number of publicized incidents worldwide, carbofuran has also been used to poison domestic pets.[17][18]

    Carbofuran is an endocrine disruptor and a probable reproduction/development intoxicant.[12] At low-level exposures carbofuran may cause transient alterations in the concentration of hormones. These alterations may consequently lead to serious reproductive problems following repeated exposure.[19][20] When exposed in utero or during lactation, a decrease in sperm motility, sperm count along with increase in percent abnormal sperm was observed in rats at 0.4 mg/kg dose level.[21] In one study, the exposure of rats to sublethal amounts of carbofuran decreased testosterone by 88%, while the levels of progesterone, cortisol, and estradiol were significantly increased (1279%, 202%, and 150%, respectively).[20]

    Toxicity to humans

    Carbofuran has one of the highest acute toxicities to humans of any insecticide widely used on field crops (only aldicarb and parathion are more toxic).[citation needed] A quarter teaspoon (1 mL) can be fatal.[citation needed] Most carbofuran is applied by commercial applicators using closed systems with engineered controls so there is no exposure to it in preparation. Since its toxic effects are due to its activity as a cholinesterase inhibitor it is considered a neurotoxic pesticide.[citation needed]

    • veterans friend

      Wow. Nasty stuff.
      Grow & eat/smoke/drink organic…if you know what is good (and bad) for you

    • the misadventures of bunjee

      So if it’s absorbed by the plant, and probably in less-than-scientifically applied methods (e.g. doses far exceeding safe levels) can it be theorized that not only are people smoking out, they’re getting smoked (poisoned) at the same time?

    • Thanks for following up with details. That is a heinous chemical.

  • Pure Greed, plain & simple.

  • Absolutely disgusting…

  • All of this pot would be contaminated by a systemic pesticide related to parathion.. Parathion has been known to kill agricultural workers who simply reached into the tank and absorbed it thru their skin.. This is very very bad news and the thought that it might be done elsewhere is frightening..

  • Punishment suggestion – make them drink the water.

  • Lost Croat Outburst

    Absolutely horrible. Ghastly. This is the kind of operation we must close down or the industry will not survive and will not deserve to survive. You don’t need these neighbors.

  • Throw away the key…. dammit, how much of this is out there?

    • Good question.

    • This is too frightening to think about. Kudos to all the hard working men and women who cleaned up this mess and packed it out. This kind of disregard for life and the environment cannot be tolerated!!!

  • Chain gang! For Life!

  • So let me get this right were freaking out over this pesticide that isn’t illegal. It was only taken off the market for food crops in2009 that means we were fed it not long ago. That also means it can be used in mass amounts still on crops that are not for human consumption like grains for animals. I find this horrible don’t get me wrong but if this were a crop of soybeans to be fed to animals grown in the very same county it would be a ok. The black market creats gross things like the use of these pesticides but slightly less lethal pesticides will be used much more widely once legalization sets in…. Wildlife will suffer from legalization.

  • Build the wall . I wish i had the solutions , but it is a known fact that the cartels have ruined or land , fueled the meth plague with super meth that they spacialize in ,and have profected the processed that maximizes potency, and purety ,and let’s not forget heroin . Remember the 2 fellows born in Mexico caught with a pound of heroin . Set free to go back to mexico . All I can do is state facts . I cannot say what my solutions would be, I’m sure I would offend someone.in doing so .

  • my guess is this is up the headwaters of Nooning creek. I stumbled on a camp-out grow next to the creek years ago- sure glad no one was home at the time. That creek ran clear and ice cold all year, at least it used to.

  • People who commit environmental crimes like this should be made to clean up trash FOREVER.

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