Three Search Warrants, Two Water Diversions, 4,671 Marijuana Plants, 255 Pounds Dry Found at Whitethorn Illegal Grows on Wednesday

Greenhouse marijuana HCSO

Marijuana close to harvest being cultivated illegally in a greenhouse found near Whitethorn Wednesday. [Crop of a photo provided by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.]


Press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office:

On Sept. 26, 2018, deputies with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) served three search warrants to investigate illegal cannabis cultivation in the Whitethorn area. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Humboldt County Environmental Health and HAZMAT Unit, the California State Water Board and the Humboldt County Planning and Building Department assisted in the service of the warrant.

The parcels investigated were located in the Bridge Creek Upper Mattole watershed and did not possess the required county permit and state license to cultivate cannabis commercially.
During the service of the warrants, deputies eradicated approximately 4,671 growing cannabis plants. Deputies seized and destroyed over 255 pounds of drying cannabis. Deputies also discovered evidence of a butane hash oil lab.

Assisting agencies found the following violations:
– Two water diversion violations (up to $8,000 fine per day, per violation)
– Eight stream crossing violations (up to $8,000 fine per day, per violation)
– Two streambed alteration violations (up to $8,000 fine per day, per violation)
– Seven water pollution violations (up to $20,000 fine per day, per violation)
– Four depositing trash in or near a waterway violations (up to $20,000 fine per day, per violation)
– Failure to label hazardous waste violation (up to $70,000 fine per day, per violation)
– Failure to close hazardous waste containers violation (up to $70,000 fine per day, per violation)
– Failure to establish a Hazardous Materials Business Plan violation (up to $5,000 fine per day, per violation)
– Commercial cannabis ordinance violations (up to $10,000 fine per day, per violation)
– Grading without a permit violations (up to $10,000 fine per day, per violation)
– Building without a permit violations (up to $10,000 fine per day, per violation)
– Failure to report waste discharge into waters of the state violations (up to $1,000 fine per day, per violation)
– Discharging waste without a permit violations ($5,000-$10,000 fine per day, per violation)
– Dredging/Filling without a permit violations ($5,000-$10,000 fine per day, per violation)
– Streamside management violations
– Sewage violations
– Junk cars violations

Additional violations with civil fines are expected to be filed by the assisting agencies.

No arrests were made during the service of the warrants.

Anyone with information about this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at (707) 445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at (707) 268-2539.Marijuana bust

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103 comments

  • You just can’t hide 5000 plants like you used to.

    • 1/1000 chances of getting actually busted or making a million dollars?

    • Sounds to me like all agencies make this stuff up……. I want to see proof that growing cannabis causes all the problems that this greedy ass county said it does. Why now why the big push to eradicate, why the major fines now. Why all the stupid codes, not laws, code violations. My favorite is being denied because your road is not up to code! ……. “In other countries they drive on the left side of the road, here in humboldt you drive on what’s left of the road.”….. Fix the roads before more people die. It’s not cannabis killing people, it’s our roads!! Our kids are on these roads in a bus in all weather, and the county won’t fix the roads, but they can sure spend tons of money on getting a plant that actually helps people. Whether you cannabis haters like it or not. ………..

      • Don't divert during summer!

        Seek the truth -the fact people are actively diverting water to grow when the mattole river is drying up is reason enough in my opinion to be fined ! the upper mattole river has been designated as a Huc-12 watershed . expect major enforcement going forward.

        • Bridge Creek is vital to the health of the upper Mattole River. Anyone who is pumping water at this critical time is threatening the river, which is already in crisis. That photo of the black water tank is infuriating. I am glad they were stopped.

        • The whole rest of the world gave up on the environment decades ago. Only here, where one group of environmenrtalist hippies attack another group of hippies does anyone care. Unfortunate but true. Maybe you should unite with the hillbilly hippies instead of dividing and conquering yourselves? Are the logging mega-corporations or big oil your friends? Well, Halliburton owns a permit to grow… FYI the plant is the plant is the plant. Legal or not, it’s the same thing.

        • Yes I agree taking from the river is wrong and those that do should be punished. If I can capture enough water to grow no excuses for others in my opinion. Back in the day if we heard a generator or pump near a river someone was gonna get roughed up we called it a teachable moment, lol

          • Back in the day hippys didn’t use generators?Lmao. Whatever! I grew up raised by hippys. Everyone of them had a generator of some sort for power

      • No money, no good roads. Grow scenes are not paying their fair share of taxes. Tweeker trimmers are not paying their fair share of taxes. Don’t blame the county for doing exactly what they need to do – eradicate criminals and collect fines.

        How does one fix the roads in a county with an overwhelming number of tax cheats?

        • Just to be clear, income tax doesn’t go to the County. Property tax does. An owner has to pay their property taxes. Property taxes are inflated because of marijuana value which means that the County has gotten more money because of growers not less.

          That said, the State and Federal income tax areas have not been getting their legal share from marijuana grows.

          • You mean that Humboldt Co has taken more in property taxes due to inflated property values. They have to take to get back. Transportation, the parts which come from general revenue rather than sales, property and excise taxes, are only about 2% of the State budget. The two biggest items in the California budget paid from income taxes are schools and health care.

            I kind of wonder how many pot growers have been using Medical and now will find their now recorded income makes them ineligible. It’s hard to get a sense of how much that happens. I only know one person whose income comes from pot grows and their child do get it but that is a very small sample to read much into.

            • Honestly Guest I would suspect in your mind that most pot growers manipulate and rape the medi-cal system by extorting billions. In my mind politicians and corporations extort billions from pot growers, let’s just call it even and let the kid get health care.

              Now you know two pot growers.

          • Kym, you are 100% correct. Thanks for the correction.

      • how about the rest of the public actually works for a living and follows laws. Growers should have made their money growing illegally for the last 50 years of no rules or taxes. they’re greedy turds.

        • I Grow and had a successful professional carreer paid taxes including property taxes. Most of my growing neighbors have doctorates and hold professional positions and pay taxes.

          I am confused at why you think we do not pay taxes. Law abiding are you really, hmm, I doubt you have abided by all laws. Please leave the real world to those that live it your fast food is probably getting cold.

      • “Why now the big push to eradicate?”
        Bruh, you should’ve been here in the 80’s and 90’s youd’ve seen a big push. It was called camp and I’m sure there’s plenty here in addition to me that could school you in what it was like living in an actual war zone when the downsides were jackbooted Gestopo storm troopers dropping out of military choppers into your patch with M-16’s and real, big boy jail sentences, not threatening letters and fines. Signed with sad face emojis.. not a fan of the current or any of the methods they’ve used to try to eradicate a flower but honestly, why now a chipper and a few trucks and letters and fines? Because thanks to today’s technology, now they can.. whereas before they couldn’t..

      • What do they do with all this tax money and what they get from all the code violations? It’s like let’s legalize gambling so we can better fund schools and nothing ever materializes. Could thing get anymore f…..d up?

    • Dooood they gots LIDAR that can see the DNA of your plants through lead. Its like a Superman eye box. Need to go underground, deep underground.

  • I like the tarp pulling set up they have. It’s pretty sweet.

  • Well that’s only $505,000 per day if they don’t come into the planning department for a friendly little chat. Pretty manageable, I bet they get it cleaned up in 10 days no problem. Last I heard, John Ford said that were18 properties beginning the lien process, and 8 of tose property owners have finally reached out to them to try and resolve it. “The last thing we want to do is take your property.”

  • Hate to say it but these places are the ones who are ruining it for mom and pops,and more modest environmentaly conscious folks.people need to focus on the fact that there is someone sitting on a computer scanning our neighborhoods with spy cameras looking for places like this. On another note listened to Ed densons show last night on kmud sounded hopeful that change could be coming.we need to chime in and lend Shakti and encimer a hand.the first step is to REALLY take this RECALL thing seriously.these supervisors have one objective to rob us and destroy our community!!!! Estelle fennel the president of sucking every last penny out of weed for the state!!! What a treasonous little weasel to her constituents.uuuhhhhhkkkkk!!!!!!!!

    • The only thing worse than the cops chipping away is the tweekers stealing it away. Both are a major problem

    • Screw the environment huh? Sucking your illegal money huh. Well welcome to adult hood. The pot growers have destroyed the community not the cops. Gee to bad you will have to do things right for once. The rules apply to everyone including you and your fellow pot growers. You voted for the liberal socialist way of life now live with it.

      • “Liberal socialism”? Grow up, maybe read a book. These greedsters are Pure Capitalists, my friend. DC and Hurwitz would be proud.

      • Fyi. Rules have and never will apply to pot growers.(sic). A lot of these pot growers you talk about are capitalists who are taking advantage of free market and getting as much money as possible in a short amount of time, all the while squashing the competition. Sound familiar? No different than a lot of envorment destroying legal companies out there. Welcome to the good ol USA!

      • Well said bro they got what they wished for and the raids keep on coming.

    • Sorry laws and rules apply to everyone. Welcome to the real world.

    • I, for one, am ALL for a recall especially of “Estelle Fentanyl” the sooner the better the ONLY thing she is good for is Lip Service!!!! She’ll tell you whatever it is she thinks you want to hear & then go back to what she has been doing all along!!!! That would be WTF ever she damned well wants to do in spite of criticism from her constituents!!!!

      • I left my trolling motor in El Segundo

        Estelle is making Humboldt a better place to live. Send the grow bros packing.

        • if living in a trailer park is your thing then yes it will be a better place to live. now I know while some local big players have been buying up trailer parks. and Danco Communities, do you really think a “friggin winner” like dan is doing for the good of humanity?

      • Dan, you just quoted websters definition of a politician

    • Alt right the turd reich

      That is a mom and pop grow. Look out how small the plants are… Also they only have one water tank from the pictures. Where do you people come from in the comment section? You certainly are not locals

  • So what your saying is only 10 out of 10,000 property’s who got abatement letters are looking at possibly getting fines? Sounds like scare tactics to me. Non-legal and unpunishable scare tactics. Well….. you can always replant next year! …… and the war continues.

  • Please, HCSO:

    Pictures of sheds with stuff stored in them, messy or not, is useless. It’s not illegal to use a space for storage. We all do it, including your deputies.

    Keep to the pot. Try to be professional.

    Or, why don’t you take pictures of their dirty underwear too, one by one, so we can become a more idiotic emotionally wrecked society.

    • I like knowing wether or not they where using organic stuff to grow, it shows the character of the grower just like the stream diversion and trash piles does. Decent humans don’t do those three things. What’s funny is how much you trip on them including the pic. Calm down, there are starving kids in your county and your tripping on shed pics.

      • falsehoods are the greatest danger to society, its even in the bible. and right now the US is engulfed in it. most of what we see from these raids are falsehoods. if it was all this bad, what’s the difference being raided at different times of the year – no bounty. I would think there would be more violations in the rainy season with turbidity, mobilization of hydrocarbons, etc.

      • Organic doesn’t mean good any more than permitted means knowledge.

        Its all money and fees. The difference, legally, of natural and artificial when used by food producers is not what you would expect from those two very different words.

        Cool that you like the shed pic, but i doubt they took it to show you what nutrients are being used.

        Its really useless. Will they use that pic in court? No. Why? Because it’s pointless. I dont waste money, and I’d like it if our officials didn’t either.

        Im not wigging out here bud. Just stating a thought.

        • How much money do you think was wasted in the process of taking a digital image and attaching it to the press release?

          I’d guess it amounts to pennies.

    • Extreme ignorance in the neck of the woods
      Those pics of the shed clearly have violations
      Spilling hazardous materials
      No secondary containment
      Zero signs
      no literature for the workers to no what they are handling and how to control discharge
      There is black mold growing on old trash and the walls
      Brian would allow his and others children in there I’m sure

      • Why make it personal?

        I dont see anything illegal there. I keep a tidier shed and house. Filth is not my style. I dont have kids and if I did I would not let them near 99% of the permitted or unpermitted weed farms.

        Thanks shocked, you remind me why I dont like most people.

        *The black mold might be on your screen, because there ain’t any in the shed pic! No, you actually can see drawings of where tools used to hang.

      • You are full of it Shocked none of what you say appears in those pictures . You must be part of the eradication team that makes all this crap up in the first place . Your just jealous some people are working hard and making money and your sitting on your butt making up lies . Get a life . And you want to talk about ignorance you are the definition of ignorance .

    • Maybe it IDs inappropriate chemical use.

      • Good thought, but the only violation that would fit is the “failure to close hazardous waste containers”…
        In the shed everything is closed except for their foliar sprayer…

        • they probably have open 5 gallon buckets of used oil from the geni and some spent filters.

          • Maybe they do, but is that in the picture?

            Then what is the pic for?

          • Who’s garden shed doesn’t have something hazardous in it . That’s what there for to store oil, tools, gasoline , equipment , coolant , chainsaws , weedwackers , fertilizer , in the city most have miracle gro, all this would be in the average tool shed in the middle of a city with close neighbors . But to push the anti pot agenda people are willing literally make stuff up to push there agenda . It’s pathetic . Like people who make up lies are pathetic.

            • Store your hazardous material properly. That scene is a mess.

              Puzzling why someone used to have 4 hacksaws and a bow saw hanging on the wall. Check for body parts under that shed.

              • do you think the growers built that shed? most of these properties have had historical use and historical contamination. the AST has a secondary containment. the only viable leaking container in the shed is the primer and my 5-gallon bucket of primer looks no different.

            • the problem with leaving used oil out with no lid is that rainwater purges the oil out due to it being lighter than water. when you change the oil every 100 hours one tends to accumulate many 5 gallon buckets full of used oil and sometimes use empty fert jugs because they run out of buckets. at least the fert jugs have threaded caps.

              • 5 gals of oil a day at eel river disposal . And it’s free! No excuse

                • 15 gallons per day in Eureka for free, they remove it out of the bed/trunk. no questions/paperwork except “what is it” and as long as it isn’t radioactive waste its all good. I use to bring waste gas, but now I buy pure gas at renner and that stuff last 2 years. the log splitter fired up with one pull and the gas was 1.5 years old. its worth the $6/gallon.

  • Laws were made to be broken, And shitty ones that the MAJORITY can’t stand can be changed!!!!! Let’s fuc$1n change prop 64. This is not what we voted for or want. Gavin newsom you weasel!!???! Huffman,mcguire,woods,fenelle,bone, the voters and the people have the final say at the end of the day!!!?

    • Lol, laws were made to be broken? So murder and robbery are okay with you? And you have no problem with someone breaking those laws to come get your illegal garden? Hahahaha, weird.

    • The voters should of actually took some time and read what the fuck they were voting on. Many of us saw the writing on the wall.
      Even without the strong handed regulation, legalizing marijuana is going to cause more overproduction which will lower it’s value, it’s not rocket surgery. If the stupidvisors we’re smart, they would back off and allow the market to sink itself. That way they might be able to keep their jobs and not be politically lynched by a mob of angry growsteaders. What truly worries me is if and when they start using these regulations to go after rule property owners that don’t grow pot, which quite a few have already been mixed up in this abatement klusterfuk.

      • Most of the people who voted yes on 64 were not growing pot. They were people who wanted pot to be legal so that it could be taxed, the quality regulated, better pricing for consumers, and the end of the black market providing money for criminals. Most voters did not give a rat’s ass about the economic future of the weed growing criminals. And they still don’t.

        The black market will sink all by itself in due time. The HCSO is just speeding up the process and making some coin for the county at the same time. Making the

  • No murder and robbery are morally wrong.robbery is abatement letters!!!!!

    • Dear Spotted owl: to respond to a particular comment, start with hitting “reply” directly under the comment. If you just post under “leave a reply” , it is disconnected from the one to which you are responding and will be harder to understand.

  • “– Junk cars violations”

    Many, many junk car violations in my neighborhood here in McKinelyville. When is the County going to enforce the Codes here???

    Incorporate McKinleyville NOW !!!!

    • 80% of the fringe properties in MCK are worse than these grow sites when it comes to haz mat violations.

    • reasonable people not in a uniform

      They could probably overlook the junk cars if they weren’t dumped next to 4600 illegal pot plants. Cops love to pile on the up-sells.

      • junked cars and chop shops are the greatest threat to water quality in rural communities. spraying hardwoods with 2,4-D is the greatest threat to water quality in rural timberlands. SoHum is a combo of the two.

        • In my 1911 I trust

          Just drove through Arcata today and saw someone spraying a little hillside off of Alliance with 2,4-D about 50ft from where Jacoby Creek goes under the road, and not 10ft from peoples’ houses. I guess its ok since on one is on a well?

  • I have to say, I’m curious about a few things:

    1) How much time does it take to plant 5000 plants?
    2) How many people does it take to pinch 5000 plants?
    3) Has 1 cent of ANY of the “fines” EVER been collected?
    4) Why is no one EVER arrested at these sites?
    5) WHO owns these properties?
    6) Since each plant makes 1-3 pounds of flowers, what is the income potential here? How much would it cost to get permits and operate legally?
    7) What is the cost of legal production, by the pound of flower?
    8) Is there actually a market for thousands of pounds?
    9) How many humongous grows ARE there? Are any of them fully compliant?

    Thanks for the information!

    • Those aint the 1-3 pounders that you want them to be. That is a short term crop probably put in in July after the light dep was harvested. those are probably 2 ouncers.

    • 7. $200–$600 for outs.

      Mostly labor cost. Labor efficiency drives per unit labor cost.

    • lol, I will take a stab at it.

      1. To vague a question to answer. I amend my soil this takes a minimum of 8 weeks and is turned twice a week. Soil is layered for veg and flower done properly you can figure 10 minutes per plant per area.

      2. 1 body per 500 to 1000 plants is a manageable ratio.

      3. No, lol.

      4. Slow convoy with fish a wildlife personal giving tour guide announcements to law enforcement personnel of local wildlife.

      5. People like me.

      6. lol, 1 to 3 pounds and we all have a huge penis as well, lol. Those are nice buds but let’s be real here they are only getting a couple of ounces per plant. Still 5000 divided by 8 is a nice pull but reality is more like 300 to 600 pounds.

      7. This is your first legitimate question. I can only say for myself but legal with taxes paid my cost per pot is around 300 to grow to maturity. Trim it up, package, get it ready for market then more taxes and we are around 500 per pot. I average a little over a pound according to state documentation ;-).

      8. According to rumor of course, lol, yes and not just in this state or country.

      9. A whole lotta but the permitting process sucks ass. Not as many as the previous statement but yes many collectives in the state operating efficiently the state website has them all.

      • Thanks for your thoughtful reply. Seems like a tough living, but aren’t they all.

        It seems idiotic to “fine” these sites if you can escape the fine by becoming compliant, but then speeders will speed until their license is taken away and they can’t afford the insurance!

        Once again, growing in remote counties of Northern CA seems very risky, at best, and as laws are being enforced, it appears to be a big fucking pain in the ass, in many ways.

        Hard to believe that your “to market” prices support the whole operation, even at these volumes.

        Thanks for being patient with an outsider. I was involved in a business which was regulated and controlled by government to the point of bankruptcy, so I feel for you.

        • You are most welcome. I love the plant is the truth. The money comes and it goes as with any profession. The plants native habitat is the mountains of Afghanistan which is the same latitude as Humboldt County and I am a firm believer grows better here than any location.

          I drove down the road in my pickup with a load of plants this summer visable to everyone. I passed a few cops on my way and yes I white knuckled but nothing happened. This would of been unheard of or unimaginable when I was younger. Times have definitely changed and I look forward to legality. That being said I would start my rant about all the red tape but today the county approved our interim permit as a micro-business. So, “forward through the fog” an old friend of mine would say.

      • Legallettuce how are you doing $200 for trimming and tax? Tax alone is $148.

        • I added the permit cost and square footage tax to the initial pot cost of 300 per pot. I added trimming cost and per pound dry tax that raises it to around 500 per pot.

          I assume the dry tax because currently the grower is responsible even though the distributor is supposed to pay. So I asked how am I supposed to know if the distributor paid the taxes. I got a shrugged shoulder and a deep stare, no response, seriously. So, If the distributor does not pay the tax it falls to the grower according to the state.

          • The state doesn’t come after the cultivator.

            Cultivator pays tax to distributor at contractually agreed upon time. Distributor sends cultivator receipt for the tax.

            CDTFA (California Department of Tax and Fee Administration) makes the distributor pay taxes owed on time or face a 50% penalty. Recouping cultivator tax later due to error is the distributor’s responsibility.

            • Check into it I did. If the distributor collects the tax but does not pay the tax to the state the grower is responsible. Make sure you sign a contract with the distributor and specify the distributor collected the tax and is to pay the state the said tax.

        • K, so I might be off as you say. If tax is by the ounce and not by the pound. Just found out but have not looked it up, if so, then a little over 600 per pot.

  • Word is the Supervisors are trying to drive out the cannabis farmers and drive the property values down so property can be picked up cheaply by loggers to log again…it’s been decades since alot of our local properties have been cut

    • 😂, word is, it’s people like “yogi” that want to continue with their distructive growing practices because they know They won’t meet any environmental standards to become legal, that are putting this piece of propaganda out hahaha.

  • We need to drive out the supervisors!!!! Thank you Shakti,and Paul and everyone else working on bringing those DESTROYING are community to morale justice

    • “spotted owl” you want to blame Fennel and others for ( probably you ) not being able to grow marijuana with the shittiest of practices and without a permit.
      You have nothing to say about all of these busts documenting with PHOTOS, incredibly “shitty destructive Practices “ that are destructive to the environment, animals and other habitat ( like your neighbors’)
      I feel sorry for your land , the animals that live there AND your neighbors because
      it’s people like YOU that have been DESTROYING our environment AND our community.

    • “spotted owl” you want to blame Fennel and others for ( probably you ) not being able to grow marijuana with the shittiest of practices and without a permit.
      You have nothing to say about all of these busts documenting with PHOTOS, incredibly “shitty destructive Practices “ that are destructive to the environment, animals and other habitat ( like your neighbors’)
      I feel sorry for your land , the animals that live there AND your neighbors because
      it’s people like YOU that have been DESTROYING our environment AND our community.

  • “If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.” Thomas Jefferson

    • Easy for Tom to say when everyone had the same 50 cal musket. There were no black helicopters, wiretaps, and private prisons in the 1770s.

  • “ Laws and rules without punishment are only guidelines for manipulation.”

    ( Me )

  • All our forefathers were insubordinate,any great person in history was.looks like the emerald triangle is full of great people!!!!!

  • Thirteen pencil outlines planning to hang tools on wall (up to $5,000 per day, per violation)

    Six plants with bud rot (up to $7,500 per day, per violation)

    One duct tape repair on leaky water tank (up to $8,000 per day, per violation)

    One gallon VF-11 nutes that don’t work (up to $70,000 per day, per violation)

    One case beer unfit for human consumption (up to $100,000 per day, per violation)

  • They also Should be concerned about the pervious owners hacksaw fetish

  • Stinky Wizzleteats

    Hoo be the owner of dat lands ?

  • Goodness! There are RULES here! Have some tolerance!

    These are not just policies, they are enforced!

    Please, make a note of it. Don’t be rude, have some integrity!

  • I’ve seen some hokey water tank modifications, but ferns???

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