Five suspects were detained and investigation continues after wildlife officers at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, in collaboration with the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office, served five search warrants for illegal commercial cannabis cultivation on remote parcels off of Low Divide Road and Rowdy Creek Road in Del Norte County.
The warrants were served on July 27 and 28 and one subject was arrested for felony cannabis cultivation and possession of a firearm while committing a felony. No names were released. Formal complaints will be filed with the Del Norte County District Attorney.
Support was also provided by CDFW Environmental Scientists, Pelican Bay State Prison Critical Incident Response Team, Del Norte County Code Enforcement and CAL FIRE.
A records check confirmed that none of the sites had a state license for commercial cannabis cultivation.
During the two-day operation, officers eradicated approximately 8,194 illegal cannabis plants, seized four firearms and documented 17 environmental crimes.
Violations included unlawful stream diversions and alteration, sediment and petroleum product pollution and depositing litter where it can enter waters of the state.
At the sites, staff observed water actively being diverted from tributaries to the Smith River, which is characterized by exceptionally clear water and steep forested mountains that support a diverse assemblage of fish, wildlife and plant species.
To report environmental crimes such as water pollution, water diversions and poaching, call the CalTIP hotline at (888) 334-2258 or text information to “TIP411” (847411).