A Dead Fisher, Loads of Poison, a Ton of Fertilizer, and Thousands of Plants Destroying Environment
A dead fisher, enough poison to kill thousands of animals, and 16,000 marijuana plants were discovered in the wake of three recent marijuana growing operations found in Eastern Humboldt, the HCSO said yesterday.
Here’s a summary of the four day effort and what the Sheriff’s officers found:
On July 29 the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Deputies, United States Forest Service (USFS) Agents , Hoopa Valley Tribal Police ( HVTP) Officers and the Cannabis Eradication and Reclamation Team (CERT) conducted an investigation and eradication of a large marijuana cultivation site below the Brushy Mountain Lookout on Friday Ridge near Willow Creek.
Three civilian scientific researchers with a background in wildlife, toxicology and ecology were with the officers when they entered the marijuana site. The officers eradicated 7,521 growing marijuana plants ranging in size from 4 feet to 6 feet tall. All the marijuana was being cultivated on United States Forest Service Land.
While conducting the investigation the researchers and deputies found the following:
• 1,230 lbs. dry fertilizer (that’s over half a ton)
• 28 lbs. liquid concentrated fertilizer
• 14 lbs. 2nd generation anticoagulant rodenticide bait (enough to kill
2,246 woodrats or gray squirrels, 12 fishers, or at least 4 spotted owls)
• 32 oz. Carbaryl insecticide
• 32 oz. Carbofuran (a banned chemical in United States due to its toxicity to people
and wildlife– a 1/4 to 1/8 teaspoon of the stuff is enough to kill a 300-400 black bear.
Deputies also located fresh hot dogs strung from a tree on treble fish hooks as bait, along with two dead deer carcasses and a Hermit thrush bird. Officers also witnessed environmental damage to the watershed.
Two days later on July 31, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputies, USFS Agents, HVTP Officers and CERT Officers conducted a marijuana investigation and eradication at another cultivation site located in the Supply Creek Watershed of the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation.
The three researchers again accompanied the officers.
Agents found the recently deceased Fisher in the garden site pictured here and above, as well as 8,473 growing marijuana plants ranging in size from 3’ to 6’ tall. The officers and researchers again found environmental damage to the area.
Fishers are currently under review by the State and Federal Government to be listed as an endangered species. The researchers took custody of the deceased Fisher and intend to conduct a necropsy on it to determine the exact cause of death. There was no obvious sign as to what killed it.
The day after the dead fisher discovery, the same team listed above with the researchers went to a third marijuana cultivation site located at Le-Terron Flat, Orleans , which is USFS property. There, the officers located and eradicated an additional 376 growing marijuana plants ranging in size from 3’ to 4’ tall.
Lt. Steve Knight of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office said the grow sites had been tended to recently but there are no suspects in custody. He also added officers saw environmental damage at all the sites including clear cutting of trees, damming of creeks, and multiple truckloads of plastic piping in the ground. Enough fertilizer was found to cover 25 football fields.
“Some of the banned chemicals are highly poisonous,” Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey told the Times-Standard news. “People who aren’t residents of the county don’t really care. They come in, take what they’ve grown and their profits and leave.”
A total of 1,942 lbs of dry fertilizer, 58 lbs of liquid concentrate fertilizer, 17 pounds of second generation anticoagulant rodenticide bait were removed altogether from the three sites. The rodenticide by itself had the potential to kill 2,753 wood rats, 14 fishers and 5 spotted owls the researchers said. Many of these toxicants were near creeks.
“What they’re finding is pretty astounding,” Sheriff Mike Downey said. “Growers are using vastly more than what would be needed. It’s enough to kill armies of rodents.”
The investigation into those responsible for the marijuana grows is continuing.
Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.
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The Times-Standard news has more here.