Do the math on these stat reports and apparently the value ‘in their eyes” is from $12,000. per lb to 140,000. per lb. WHAT???
The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office released the latest statistical data on illicit drug seizures made during 2017 and during the last two weeks.
The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office recently reported the following:
The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office released the latest statistical data on illicit drug seizures made during 2017 and during the last two weeks. Operating on private property using search warrants, the Siskiyou Interagency Marijuana Investigation Team conducted a series of counter-drug operations during the period ending Nov. 3. Search warrants were served primarily in Mt. Shasta Vista, Mt. Shasta Forest, Klamath River Country Estates and Hilt areas, targeting large cannabis cultivation sites. This raises the total number of search warrant operations initiated by SIMIT to 188 for 2017. During 2017, SIMIT has seized 27,798 illicit cannabis plants worth about $333.6 million on the retail illegal drug market. SIMIT has seized 17,047 pounds of illicit marijuana, worth about $68.1 million on the illegal drug market. Five THC extraction or “Honey Oil Labs” have been seized along with 27 firearms.
SIMIT has been serving search warrants as a team with additional assistance from the local, state and sometimes federal level. SIMIT again worked with Siskiyou County Public Works and Code Enforcement Officers from the Planning Department. Code Enforcement Officers are focusing their efforts on illegal structures, illegal Porta-Potties, water treatment/septic problems, well issues, fencing, generators and other ordinance related violations. Public Works is providing exceptional support by providing dump trucks and a backhoe to help haul the large, mature cannabis plants encountered by team members.
SCSO also initiated a special on-highway counter-drug operation during the period of Sept. 23 to Oct. 29, which focused its efforts in areas most impacted by illicit drug trafficking operations. During this period, 18 illegal drug seizures were made through traffic enforcement in high-impact areas by patrolling local roadways. Seventeen of the seizures involved illegal loads of cannabis being transported on Siskiyou County highways. Marijuana seizures totaled 117 pounds of illicit cannabis, worth about $16.5 million on the illegal retail drug market. The seizures ranged from 25.8 grams to 1,548 pounds of illegal cannabis. SCSO patrol units were assisted on one stop by the CHP. The California Department of Fish & Wildlife assisted with another seizure. The California Agricultural Station staff in Hornbrook were instrumental in assisting with a large seizure of cannabis as well.
During 2017, SIMIT conducted nearly 200 counter-drug operations in various areas of Siskiyou County, mostly in Shasta Vista, Klamath River Country Estates in the Hornbrook area; Weed, Lake Shastina, Montague, Big Springs, Mt. Shasta Forest, Mount Shasta, Iron Gate (Copco Lake area), Butte Valley and the Hilt area. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration served seven additional search warrants in partnership with SCSO, SIMIT, the Siskiyou Unified Major Investigation Team, and the North State Major Investigation Team. 150 criminal cases are being prepared for submission to the Siskiyou County District Attorney.
According to Sheriff Jon Lopey, “We have seen hundreds of large-scale illicit cannabis grow sites in many county areas and these recent operations prove there is still a large-scale effort by many illegal growers to violate the law and existing county guidelines, which do not permit more than 12 medical cannabis plants. These 12 plants are required to be grown in an approved indoor structure. There is also substantial evidence of large-scale, organized crime efforts to finance the numerous illicit grow sites that have been observed or eradicated. The number of plants seized have typically ranged from 99 illegal plants to a high of 2,985 plants on single parcels. Most of the cannabis plants in these county areas have been harvested and we are focusing our attention on indoor cultivation sites, processing facilities, and THC extraction labs. Most of the processed marijuana seized has been packaged for transportation and sales.”
The SCSO and the Siskiyou County District Attorney’s Office formed SIMIT during 2016 and the team has assumed the primary mission of enforcing drug-related laws and the county’s marijuana ordinance on private property. SIMIT has doubled their enforcement activities in virtually all major categories this year.
Thus far during 2017 and during the previous year, SIMIT investigators continue to encounter environmental damage inflicted by growers, including downed trees, garbage, raw sewage, illegal water diversions, chemicals and fertilizers used in cultivation sites, and other adverse impacts. Illegal campfires on land parcels have been detected along with a number of fire hazards associated with debris piles, fuels and hazardous substances. CAL FIRE law enforcement officers have cited several fire hazard-related violations during several counter-drug operations. According to Sheriff Lopey, “We continue to be concerned about the pollution, blight, and fire hazards encountered during our search warrant operations that reinforce the fact that most illegal cannabis cultivation sites cause serious environmental damage and fire hazards are particularly common.”
According to Sergeant Jeremiah LaRue, “Major impacts of these illegal marijuana cultivation sites continue to include but are not limited to open camp fires, improper grading, human waste, run-off sediment, nutrients and fertilizers leaching into the soil and watershed; improper site development, illegal road construction, run-off into streams, rivers, and lakes, illegal stream bed alternations, water thefts, and other public health and environmental concerns that adversely impact water quality and natural habitats, potentially harmful to birds, fish, other animals. Damage to roads is also common due to water trucks.”
It is estimated that these illegal, outdoor marijuana sites, on private property alone, are expending up to 3 million gallons of water a day. According to Sheriff Lopey, “I would also like to remind my fellow citizens that we are not seeking enforcement against legitimate medical marijuana users or recreational growers in compliance with recently-passed Proposition 64, as long as those citizens comply with the law. Under Prop 64 or the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, recreational adult users of cannabis may possess up to six plants and 28.5 grams of processed marijuana.”
Another task force, the California Department of Justice-led North State Major Investigation Team, a regional team working with the United States Forest Service and other federal, state and local agencies, is tasked with curtailing illegal marijuana grow sites on public lands.
NSMIT, including a detective sergeant from SCSO, is investigating illicit cannabis cultivation sites on public land (mostly USFS) areas of Siskiyou County. NSMIT investigators have detected hazardous chemicals that threaten the environment in public land grows during their productive 2017 enforcement season.
NSMIT worked with the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP), a federal, state and local team that conducted a series of drug raids in public land areas during 2017, mostly in areas of the Klamath National Forest. During 2017, about 106,061 illegal cannabis plants have been eradicated and several arrests made.
The plants seized, based on a three pound yield, could have resulted in about $1,272,732,000 ($1.3 billion) in illicit retail drug proceeds on the streets. NSMIT has seized 5,650 pounds of processed cannabis and 10 suspects have been arrested. The 5,650 in processed cannabis prepared for sale can garner about $22.5 million on the retail illegal drug market.
On Nov. 7, the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to again approve and extend a proclamation declaring a “local state of emergency” in Siskiyou County due to the overwhelming number of illegal cannabis cultivation sites in the county on public and private properties, which present significant public health, safety, and environmental dangers to the county and its citizens.
According to Sheriff Lopey, “This proclamation and support from federal and state agencies has already resulted in increased interest in the illicit drug trade in Siskiyou County. Since the proclamation, we have received pivotal support for the eradication of illicit cannabis plants on private property from the California Army National Guard’s (CARNG) Counter Drug Unit. Assistance has been received from the local and Northern Division offices of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and CAL FIRE law enforcement has provided some support. Assistance has been provided by the California Department of Justice through the SUMIT and NSMIT drug task forces. DEA has also provided exceptional support. There are other state agencies assisting with our water truck and illegal drug trade organizations. Recently, state officials advised me that our proclamation is still under consideration at the state level. Along with Board of Supervisors’ support, Senator Gaines and Assemblyman Dahle have sent letters to Governor Brown, strongly supporting our request for additional support and proclamation of a ‘local state of emergency.’ Emergency operations winding down in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, Lake, and Solano Counties have likely slowed the state response to our proclamation. We are fortunate that we have overwhelming local, state, and federal elected representatives that support our efforts 100%. We are attempting to stop lawlessness, preserve our environment, protect our most vulnerable populations such as children and teenagers, and we are honoring the countless calls for help from our citizens reporting numerous ‘quality of life’ issues impacting them in our county related to illicit drug trafficking.”
Sergeant LaRue added, “Anyone with information about an illegal marijuana cultivation site is urged to contact the SCSO’s 24-hour Dispatch Center at (530) 841-2900. Citizens may also contact the Siskiyou County Planning Department (Community Development) to report suspected ordinance violations related to non-permitted structures, septic tanks, well issues, trash, fencing, and similar ordinance violations at (530) 841-2100. Citizens with information about illicit drug activities that are non-cannabis related such as methamphetamine, heroin or other illicit drugs are urged to contact SUMIT at (530) 842-8374, or the SCSO 24-hour Dispatch Center.”
In partnership with the Siskiyou County’s Department of Health and Human Services, a youth anti-drug and safety program (DARE) will resume this fall in targeted schools to further educate our children about the dangers associated with illicit drug, tobacco, and alcohol use.
The program also discusses other topics such as bullying and how to fight back against the exploitation and abuse of children and how to identify and report such inappropriate behaviors to the proper authorities. A highly qualified former police sergeant has been hired as a SCSO reserve deputy to fulfill this important role.
A recent Siskiyou County National Drug Take-Back Day resulted in the successful turn-in of 328 pounds of prescription medications by SCSO alone. The Oct. 28 program was sponsored by SCSO, Siskiyou Against Rx Addiction, Siskiyou Substance Abuse Coalition, Mount Shasta Police Department, Weed Police Department, City of Dunsmuir (SCSO Substation), Happy Camp (SCSO Substation), Tulelake Police Department, and Yreka Police Department. Sergeant LaRue added, “We want to thank all the great citizens and law enforcement officials that made this program a huge success.”