Editor's note: if Prop 19 had already passed, this marijuana bust would have taken place anyway, since the growers violated several other laws.
Monday 27 September 2010
Up-Date of 2010 Marijuana Season Illegal Grows in Sierra County
Incident: # N/A
For more information, contact:
Sheriff John Evans
On September 2nd and 3rd, 2010, the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office conducted five separate raids on illegal large outdoor commercial marijuana grow sites. The five sites were located mainly in western Sierra County. The sheriff’s office was assisted by the Sierra County Probation Department, the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office, the California Department of Justice, and the United States Forest Service. During the two days of operations, some 33,000 illegal marijuana plants were eradicated from public lands that are managed by the U.S. Forest Service for public use. No arrests were made, however officers did encounter five believed to be Hispanic male adults responsible for guarding and cultivating two of the grow sites. The suspects evaded arrest by fleeing into the forest. In addition to eradicating the marijuana plants, officers recovered two firearms, one of which was stolen from the City of Oakland, California last year. To date, the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office has eradicated approximately 37,000 illegal marijuana plants this grow season alone. There are still several open cases pending which are expected to produce many more plants and the possibility of arresting suspects and the seizure of additional weapons and possible assets. Last grow season, in the Summer and Fall of 2009, Sierra County exceeded all bordering counties in terms of illegal marijuana plants eradicated, even more than many larger counties, over 60,000 in all. The sheriff’s office greatly appreciates the assistance from allied agencies and tips from the public about such illegal operations. The goal is to minimize the danger to the public from possible encounters with armed garden tending guards while families are out enjoying their public lands. Not to mention the destruction of the forest habitat from the clear cutting of the indigenous plants and trees in the grow areas for cultivating and the contamination of forest lands from human waste and their trash, the chemicals used in the growing process and the miles-and-miles of plastic water pipe left abandoned by the growers on the forest floor.
Note; the sheriff’s office has conducted dozens of private property “medicinal marijuana” compliance checks all over the county, finding only one incident of prosecutable activity. That was in the Alleghany/Pike area. By-and-large, the residential population is following the State laws regarding the “Compassionate Use Act of 1996” passed by the populace, then Proposition 215. Regardless, marijuana currently remains illegal in California and under Federal law. The Compassionate Use Act of 1996 requires a doctor’s recommendation for use and it merely allows for a defense against prosecution, but it does not legalize marijuana. The voters may make additional changes to the legal status of marijuana in California in November regarding Proposition 19. Proposition 19 is the initiative statute that proposes for the legalization of marijuana under California law, not Federal law, for it’s personal use by those 21 years and older. It would permit local government to regulate and tax commercial production, distribution, and the sale of marijuana. The sheriff’s office will continue, as always, to follow the laws enacted. It widely remains a belief that marijuana is considered to be a “gateway” drug that leads to the use of others such as methamphetamine; etcetera.
For more information about illegal drugs, including statistics in California, you can go to the California Department of Justice (D.O.J.), Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement (B.N.E.) website at www.ag.ca.gov/bne. Go to the CAMP (Campaign Against Marijuana Planting) page for marijuana specific information. If you know of anyone who is looking for referral help to change their life away from illegal/problem drug use, or if you want to provide any crime information, you can leave a confidential or anonymous message by telephoning: 1-888-2-SHERIFF or (530) 289-2898. That is a direct line received only by Sheriff John Evans.
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Marijuana, the drug scourge of the Sierra.