Posted on 12 October 2012.
Only a Drop in the Proverbial Cannabis Bucket
Cannabis profits just aren’t what they used to be. It’s gotta be a bigger better bumper crop scoring a decent harvest of gold rush greenbacks within the greedy Emerald Triangle nowadays. Keeping up with the Joneses. Or so it seems.
Take yesterday’s HCSO bust for example:
On Thursday, October 11, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Eureka Police Problem Oriented Policing Team and the Humboldt County Drug Task Force serving a Humboldt County Superior Court search warrant in the 2000 block of Sunset Ridge Road in Blocksburg.
Upon serving the search warrant, deputies located and detained a whopping 17 suspects.
Of course, being nosy they found more than that. A whole lot more.
As deputies arrived and announced their presence,
one of the suspects, identified as Johines Ibonnet,
attempted to jump out the back window of the residence
and broke his ankle. He was transported to a local
hospital and treated for his 215-related injury prior to being
booked into jail.
Upon searching the 45-acre parcel deputies found the usual large and sophisticated marijuana growing and processing operation. The operation consisted of marijuana plants grown in two large greenhouses that were estimated to be between 60 feet by 100 feet, along with marijuana plants being grown out in the open and inside the residence in full bloom.
The residence and greenhouses were powered by two commercial sized 25 KW diesel generators. The
growing marijuana plants ranged in size from 6 feet
to 8 feet tall and were budding, officers duly noted.
Deputies estimated the prolific plants to have at least
one to two pounds of gorgeous bud being
produced on each fragrant plant.
There were a total of 718 growing marijuana plants located and seized on the property. Inside a large drying shed, estimated to be approximately 60 feet by 40 feet, deputies sniffed, located, and seized another 900 skunky pounds of drying marijuana bud.
Inside the residence deputies located two commercial marijuana trimming machines being used to trim the dried marijuana bud from the plants. Those machines don’t come cheap. They cost between $1500 and $10,000 each, depending on the make and model.
Deputies found 132 pounds of dried marijuana bud along the numerous drying racks. They also discovered 261 sealed bags of even more marijuana bud ready to sell, estimated at one pound or more each, along with:
- packaging material
- scales, a Norinco AK-47 assault rifle with several loaded high capacity magazines,
- a money counter, and
- $9,500.00 cash.
Altogether, a total of approximately 1,293 pounds of dried marijuana bud was located. Folks, that’s nearly 3/4 of a ton of pot.
Needless to say, that’s a whole lotta toke even by Humboldt standards. And potential money in the bank– or buried in coffee cans. Many, many coffee cans.
Fortunately, the HCSO ran the numbers for us. This is what they came up with:
Dried marijuana bud is being sold for approximately $2,000 a pound, they say. The estimated value of the dried marijuana bud seized would be $2,586,000 wholesale. If the live marijuana plants had been harvested they would had yielded conservatively an additional 718 pounds of dried marijuana bud worth an estimated $1,436,000 wholesale. Sounds reasonable.
The value of the illicit marijuana seized was estimated, the officers figured, to be at least $4 million sticky dollars. That’s just the marijuana bud, not including the leaves. For the tight-fisted grower making the most of their ’product,’ those leaves can translate into gobs of unrealized honey hash oil, too.
Several of the suspects admitted to investigating officers they were hired to work at the marijuana grow as laborers.
HCSO Lt. Steve Knight told the Times-Standard news that this was “a very large commercial grow, one of the larger we’ve seen in quite some time.” He added, “We’re seeing a large influx of transients and people from out of the state and out of the country who want to come to Humboldt County. It’s putting a lot of stress on us.”
Knight said such a large bust is “incredibly” labor and time intensive for local law enforcement and Eureka Police’s POP team and the County Drug Task Force were called in to assist because of the large amount of evidence collected and the number of people pinched.
Knight also said the HCSO is “trying to identify the main players– they’re from all over, and we’re seeing a lot of that in our county.” He said that in addition to the money seized, some bank accounts have also been frozen. Due to the large size of this grow, federal authorities may become interested in becoming part of the investigation.
For our very informed Sentinel readers, Lt. Knight gave an interview with KMUD news here describing more about the bust.
The following is a list of those who were arrested at the scene and booked in the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on charges of Cultivation and
Possession for sale of Marijuana, and Conspiracy to Commit a Felony.
Most were from outside of Humboldt, residents of Florida, Cuba, Mexico, Jamaica, New Jersey, North Carolina, and other locales. It seems a few were able to bail out immediately, all the six women were kindly released due to jail overcrowding, and the remaining
had their bail set in the same amount of $75,000:
Elber Dejesus Ivonnet: 53, from North Bergen, New Jersey. He bailed out of jail.
Geyler Melo-Pueyol: 22, from Miami, Florida. In custody with $75,000.00 bail.
Richardo Mateos-Perez: 22, from Homestead, Florida. In custody with $75,000.00 bail.
Fernando Olvera: 39, from Santa Rosa, California. He bailed.
Luis Manuel Sosa-Vega: 47, from Santiago, Cuba. In custody, $75,000.00 bail.
Jose Pulido: 42, from Los Reva, Mexico. In custody, $75,000.00 bail and a ICE Hold.
Hildegarde Safont-Arias: 42, from Hialeah, Florida. In custody, $75,000.00 bail.
Disney Bolanos-Chacon: 41, from Charlotte, North Carolina. In custody, $75,000.00 bail
Jonines Ibonnet: 42, from Oakland, California. He and his broken foot bailed.
Terrence Henderson, 43, from Eureka, California. In custody, $75,000.00 bail
Pauline Ionie Barnes: 44, from Green Island, Jamaica. Released on O.R.
Arlettis Rodriguez-Alverez: 22 years, from Hileah, Florida. Released on O.R.
Dayana Isabel Padron: 19, from Blocksburg, California. Released on O.R.
Elizabeth Enamorado De Padron: 40, from Santiago, Cuba. Released on O.R.
Hyacinth Hypatiae English, 48, from Bridgeville, California. Released on O.R.
Idalmis Leyva Ivonnet, 62 years old, from Charlotte, North Carolina. Released on O.R.
Michael Lewis Iverson Jr., 35, from Eureka, California, was also arrested at the marijuana growing site; however he was only arrested on an outstanding probation violation warrant with a bail of $30,000.
(The usual adclaimer: anyone with information for the Sheriffs Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriffs Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539)
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If this keeps up, we think you’re going to need more prosecutors, Mr. Gallegos.
(Posted by Skippy Massey)