Deputies seize $700,000 of pot

April 11, 2007 11:00 pm
The Del Norte County Sheriff's Office released pictures Thursday of the $700,000 marijuana bust deputies made Wednesday at a residence on Lake Earl Drive. The marijuana was found when a deputy caught scent of weed coming from the house. A total of 441 plants were taken and one person arrested. Jeff Burnham, 22, was arrested on felony charges of cultivating marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale. In addition to marijuana, law enforcement took 17 high-intensity lamps (above) and a hydroponics growing system, which circulates water through the plants' root systems. The 441 plants took up enough space to fill Burnham's two-car garage and one of his bedrooms. Officials are still investigating the operation and believe that others were involved. (Photo courtesy of the Del Norte County Sheriff's Office).
The Del Norte County Sheriff's Office released pictures Thursday of the $700,000 marijuana bust deputies made Wednesday at a residence on Lake Earl Drive. The marijuana was found when a deputy caught scent of weed coming from the house. A total of 441 plants were taken and one person arrested. Jeff Burnham, 22, was arrested on felony charges of cultivating marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale. In addition to marijuana, law enforcement took 17 high-intensity lamps (above) and a hydroponics growing system, which circulates water through the plants' root systems. The 441 plants took up enough space to fill Burnham's two-car garage and one of his bedrooms. Officials are still investigating the operation and believe that others were involved. (Photo courtesy of the Del Norte County Sheriff's Office).

By Nicholas Grube

Triplicate staff writer

The seized $700,000 of marijuana after an alert deputy smelled the weed emanating from a residence on Lake Earl Drive Wednesday.

Twenty-two year old Jeff Burnham was arrested on felony charges of cultivating marijuana and possession for sale for his operation which included 17 high-intensity lamps, above ground growing boxes and a hydroponics growing system.

According to a Sheriff's Office press release, Deputy Carl Berry was investigating a prowler in Burnham's neighborhood when he heard industrial-sized exhaust fans and caught a whiff of a pungent odor coming out of Burnham's house.

"It was obvious what it was," Sheriff's Detective Sgt. Steve Morris said.

"Mr. Burnham did not have a valid Proposition 215 medical marijuana card ... so he was in violation," he said.

Even if Burnham did have valid paperwork, his garden would not be in compliance, Morris said. Legal marijuana gardens for people who are registered 215 cardholders can have up to 99 plants in a 10-by10-foot area. Burnham's operation more than quadrupled this limit. His 441 plants took up enough space to fill a two-car garage and a bedroom in his home.

"There's so very many of these growers out there now," Morris said of people growing more than the law permits. "Whether this guy's got a 215 card or not, it's illegal."

However, if Burnham owned a 215 card and was slightly over the allowable marijuana limit, law enforcement would have ignored it or simply written him a ticket for non-compliance.

"The people who actually have a medical marijuana card, we don't want to hassle them," Morris said. "If they follow the rules that are outlined, then we're compassionate in that way."

The investigation is ongoing, and Morris said that he believes there were others involved in Burnham's indoor growing operation.

Reach Nicholas Grube at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it