The following is information provided by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:
On June 4, 2021, wildlife officers with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) served a search warrant on the 5200 Block of Hargus Road in Laytonville. Support was provided by a CDFW Environmental Scientist and the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office.
The search warrant was part of an investigation into deer poaching and illegal cannabis cultivation.
Prior to serving the search warrant, a thorough records check was conducted on the property to determine what steps may have been taken to secure a state license. In this case, no state license or county permit to cultivate commercial cannabis was obtained.
The site was located on unnamed tributaries to Rattlesnake Creek and Tenmile Creek – both of which feed into the South Fork Eel River watershed. CDFW has documented many species of concern in the area including steelhead, Chinook salmon and the Foothill Yellow Legged Frog.
Environmental violations and impacts observed on the site included:
- Two on-stream dams, which impounded the natural stream flow.
- Several unpermitted, undersized and inappropriately installed stream crossing culverts on roads used to access cannabis cultivation sites.
- Delivery of sediment, which is deleterious to aquatic life, from unpermitted stream crossing culverts.
Over 2,700 illegal cannabis plants were eradicated, and 24 pounds of processed cannabis and 187 pounds of shake was destroyed.
Additionally, evidence of potential wildlife poaching activity was discovered and seized along with ammunition and high-capacity magazines, while serving the search warrant.
A formal complaint will be filed with the Mendocino County District Attorney’s office. No other information is available at this time.