"It sickens me to see what's happening to our county," said Downey.
In a 20-minute slideshow presentation the sheriff illustrated the environmental problems associated with large marijuana grows, including sediment slides from illegal grading, water diversion, rodenticides and hazardous waste leaks.
"It's getting to the point where I'm asking my deputies to wear protective gear when they go in, some of these sites are so toxic," Downey said, referring to the presence of chemicals such as DDT and methomyl, which are sometimes used to deter vermin from the plants.
He went on to cite lack of funding for enforcement as a major hindrance to addressing the problems, though he said at this time the District Attorney's office has a special task force whose primary focus is land issues.
09-24-2013, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputies assisted by the Cannabis Eradication and Reclamation Team (C.E.R.T.) eradicated a large marijuana cultivation site on Barnum Timber Property, Garberville area. Deputies located and eradicated 9,056 growing marijuana plants ranging in height from 4’ to 6’. Deputies found rodenticides, fertilizers and environmental damage caused by clearing of brush and timber, along with a stream diversion.
On 09-25-2013, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputies assisted by the C.E.R.T. eradicated a large marijuana cultivation site again on Barnum Timber and adjacent private property in the Garberville area. Deputies located and eradicated 5,717 growing marijuana plants ranging in height from 4’ to 6’ tall. They again found rodenticides, fertilizers and environmental damage caused by clearing of brush and timber, along a with stream diversion. They also found a trail of marijuana leaves which they followed to a residence. A search warrant was obtained for the residence. Upon serving the search warrant on the residence deputies discovered the residence was being exclusively used to process and dry marijuana. Deputies located and seized 600 pounds of marijuana from the residence. No one was in the residence when the search warrant was served.
On 09-26-2013, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputies assisted by the C.E.R.T. eradicated a large marijuana cultivation site on Benbow State Park property and adjacent private property. Deputies located and eradicated 6,750 growing marijuana plants at this location along with a stream diversion and other environmental damage. The plants at this location ranged in size from 3’ to 7’ tall.
The estimated value of the total marijuana seized is conservatively 21 million dollars.
We spent many months drafting and refining an ordinance that would allow people to purchase medical cannabis from legal sources in our town. Now, even after the California Supreme Court ruled that cities have the right to regulate medical cannabis and the DOJ has specifically mentioned local ordinances regulating medical cannabis as being a step in the right direction in keeping criminals from profiting from the sale of medical cannabis, the City of Eureka has a ban on a Special Meeting Agenda.
How does this happen? We had not one negative testimony from the public during our consideration of the ordinance. Please come and let your Council know how you feel about this.
Pick up this week's Journal for the full story, and enjoy these pics in the meantime.
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