The following is a press release issued by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:
On Oct. 11, 2021, wildlife officers with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) served three search warrants in the First and Third Gates area of Willits in Mendocino County. The search warrants were part of an investigation into unlawful cultivation of cannabis.
Support was provided by Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force, Department of Cannabis Control, a CDFW Environmental Scientist and the State Water Board.
The properties that were subject to search warrant services were in the Sherwood Creek watershed, which is tributary to Outlet Creek, which is then a direct tributary to the Eel River. The Sherwood and Outlet Creek watersheds support numerous threatened and/or endangered fish and wildlife species, including the western pond turtle, foothill yellow-legged frog, steelhead trout and Coho salmon.
Prior to serving the search warrants, a records check was conducted on the properties to determine what steps may have been taken to secure a state license or a county permit. In these cases, no state license or county permit to cultivate commercial cannabis had been issued.
Numerous environmental violations were documented including deleterious materials located near waterways and placement of trash and refuse where it may enter waterways. These types of violations compromise the habitat and resources that native fish and wildlife species need to survive.
Over 3,800 illegal cannabis plants were eradicated and over 2,900 lbs. of illegal processed cannabis was destroyed.
Formal complaints will be filed with the Mendocino County District Attorney’s offices. No other information is available at this time.