Eureka Man Detained in Covelo Cannabis Operation That Included FBI, DEA, National Guard Members
This is a press release from the Mendocino 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 June 24, 2020* the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, assisted by the Mendocino County Major Crimes Task Force, Mendocino County Probation, Lake County Sheriff’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency, the California National Guard Counter-Drug Task Force Unit/High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) members, and the Round Valley Indian Tribal Police Department served a search warrant in the 23700 Block of Biggar Lane in Covelo, related to the illegal cultivation of marijuana.
The warrant was issued for the property based upon probable cause showing the illegal cultivation of commercial marijuana. At the location four males fled into the brush and one adult female was detained. In a search of the wooded area two adult males were detained and two could not be located. Two minor children were also located who were visiting a relative. These two minor children were later turned over to the custody of the Round Valley Indian Tribal Indian Child Welfare (ICWA) representative to be driven to their legal guardian’s home. Detained at this location were; Angel Esquivel, 56 years of age, out of Covelo, Herberto Valencia-Guzman, 32 years of age, from Eureka, CA, Juan Godine-Martinez, 38 years of age, from Guatemala.
The investigation found a total of 9346 growing marijuana plants, ranging in height from 1 foot to 6 feet, being grown in several open field locations and and in 35 “hoop” style green houses.
A Round Valley Indian Tribes, cultural monitor, was requested to respond as there was clear indication of Tribal Archaeology site disturbances found. A complete report documenting the extent of any damage to the sites was requested. Also discovered were two areas of de-forestation of the local oak trees in what appeared to be an attempt to open the tree canopy for to allow more sunlight on some of the open field grows. These areas were withing the riparian zone of Mill creek, a steel-head and salmon spawning tributary of the Eel River.
This incident is under investigation and a complaint will be filed with the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office for a review of the listed charges against the listed suspects. Anyone with additional information about these marijuana growing operations is encouraged to contact the MCSO Tip line at 707-234-2100.
*Note: we’ve asked for clarification on the date.