Trinity County Operation Uncovers 150+ Environmental Crimes

A recent operation in California uncovered many environmental crimes at unlicensed cannabis farms.

On Wednesday, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) revealed that they had served 34 search warrants in the Mad River, Kettenpom, and Zenia areas of southern Trinity County on June 26.

CDFW conducted the operation in collaboration with the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office and Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.

The California National Guard, Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office, State Water Resources Control Board, and CDFW environmental scientists provided additional support.

According to CDFA, the warrants were part of an environmental crimes investigation focusing on cannabis cultivation.

There was a records check conducted before serving the search warrants.

CDFW says the purpose of the check was to determine steps the growers could have taken to secure a state cannabis license.

According to CDFA, none of the recipients of the 34 search warrants had obtained county permits or state licenses to grow and process commercial cannabis.

At the end of the operation, CDFW scientists had documented more than 150 environmental violations.

CDFW says the violations included illegal water diversion, large-scale illegal grading, sediment discharge to streams, introducing petroleum products and trash into watersheds, and using dangerous rodent poisons and pesticides.

CDFW says many of the violations were directly impacting national forests.

CDFW Deputy Director David Bess says staff and county partners were exceptional in conducting the investigation in a rural area of Trinity County.

“The numerous environmental crimes associated with these operations is staggering but not surprising,” says Bess. “Illegal operators of this nature are a detriment to our native fish and wildlife and those legally cultivating cannabis.”

CDFW says officers eradicated 84,150 cannabis plants, destroyed 5,419 pounds of processed cannabis, and seized six firearms.

According to CDFW, officers also dismantled a butane hash oil lab.

CDFW says authorities detained and interviewed several people before releasing them.

According to CDFW, there are charges pending with the Trinity County District Attorney’s Office for those interviewed.

Along with its partners, CDFW says it has eradicated more than 19.2 million cannabis plants and 918,591 pounds of processed cannabis from the illicit market since 2018.