Diesel Leaks, Grading Violations, Water Diversion—Two Arrested for Multiple Environmental Issues at Marijuana Grows
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 Tuesday 08/22/2017, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office’s Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) began a three day operation investigating non-permitted large scale marijuana cultivation sites in the Conklin Creek area of Petrolia. A total of three search warrants were served on five parcels. Three parcels were under the same LLC. The following agencies assisted DEU with these investigations: Wardens from California Fish and Wildlife, Environmental Scientists from California Fish and Wildlife, Agents with Bureau of Land Management, State Water board, CAL Fire, specialist from the Humboldt County Environmental Health and HAZMAT Unit, Humboldt County Code Enforcement officers, and personnel from the California Army National Guard Counter Drug Unit.
The first parcel investigated consisted of three greenhouses and several outdoor marijuana gardens. A total of 2,081 plants were located on this parcel. Also located was 461 pounds of processed marijuana. Suspect Isidro Alexandro Sandoval (age 22) was located on the property in possession of a 9mm pistol. Sandoval was arrested and charged with felony cultivation/possession of marijuana for sales and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. Several environmental, county code, HAZMAT, and water right violations were found on this parcel that was directly related to the marijuana cultivation site.
State Water board located the following: 4 separate violations of Fill in Water Course of the State, and 3 violations of Failure to File Initial Statement of Water Diversions and Use.
Fish and Wildlife located the following: 3 Water Diversion violations, 4 Streambed Alteration violations, 3 Sediment Discharge violations, and 4 Trash in Stream Violations.
County Code Enforcement located the following Violations: Construction without a permit, Grating without a permit, Streamside Management violation, Unlawful Sewage discharge, and violation of the Commercial Medical Marijuana ordinance.
HAZMAT located the following violations: Failure to Submit Hazardous Material Business Plan, Unauthorized Hazardous Waste Storage, and Mismanagement of Waste Oil Filters. Four 55 gallon drums containing fuel and 1 55 gallon drum containing motor oil were located on the property.
The second parcel was owned by Rodolfo Machado, who arrived on the property after Law Enforcement. A total of 8 greenhouses containing 3,922 marijuana plants were located on Machado’s parcel. Fish and Wildlife located multiple Water Diversion and Streambed Alteration violations. County Code Enforcement located the following violations: Construction without a permit, Grading without a permit, RV used as a residence, Solid Waste discharge, Commercial Medical Marijuana ordinance violation.
Rodoflo Machado (age 53) was arrested for felony cultivation/possession of marijuana for sales.
Day two began the investigation of the three parcels listed under the same LLC. A total of 17 greenhouses were located on the three parcels. A total number of 7,295 marijuana plants were located growing within the greenhouses. DEU located 6,125 pounds of processed marijuana during this investigation. Large amounts of diesel fuel were located leaking into the ground in two different locations, one of which was across the road from Conklin Creek.
Fish and Wildlife located the following: 6 Water Diversion violations, 16 Streambed Alteration violations, 21 Water Pollution Sediment Discharge violations, 13 Water Pollution Trash in/near Stream violations, 3 Unpermitted Divided Stream violations, and 3 Poaching violations.
State Water Board located the following violations: Water Quality Standards, Impacts Associated with roads, Sediment Discharge, Inadequate Storage of and Handling of Chemicals and Fertilizers, Use of Restricted Pesticides, Discharge of Sewage to Waters of the State, Inadequate Containment and Spills of Diesel, Threaten Discharge of Sediment, Clean Water Act violations, and Violations of the North Coast Basin Plan.
County Code Enforcement located the following violations: Storage and Removal of Solid Waste, Unapproved Sewage Disposal, Construction without a Permit, Grading without a Permit, Development within Streamside Management Area, Improper Storage of Hazardous Materials, Commercial Medical Marijuana Ordinance.
The subject(s) associated with this LLC are still under investigation.
Summary of three day operation:
13,298 marijuana plants eradicated
6,586.6 pounds of processed marijuana seized and destroyed
2 pistols and 1 rifle seized
2 felony arrests
All criminal violations stemming from the marijuana cultivation investigations will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s office for review. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office maintains a cooperative relationship with all agencies that participated in this investigation. All future investigations into non-compliant marijuana operations will continue to be investigated in this manner.
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.