The following is a press release issued by the Ukiah Police Department. This has not been proven in a court of law and any individuals described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty:
Over the last several months, Lake County Sheriff’s Office detectives, assigned to the Narcotics Unit, and deputies, assigned to the Roadmap Task Force, have investigated a large illegal marijuana production operation that originated within Clearlake Oaks.
Over twenty locations were investigated after search warrants were authored by detectives and signed by Lake County Superior Court Judges. The search warrants were served at locations in Clearlake Oaks, Clearlake, Lower Lake, Kelseyville, Middletown, Sacramento, and West Sacramento.
During the investigation, a large, sophisticated chemical manufacturing laboratory was located in the Middletown area. The laboratory was using very volatile, combustible, and highly flammable chemicals for manufacturing concentrated marijuana, commonly referred to as hash oil. There were over 780 gallons of the chemicals at the scene, which were not being properly and safely stored, which posed a severe hazard and safety concern to the community. The chemicals on scene were later safely removed by a hazardous materials team. The laboratory was producing over 200 pounds of hash oil each day it was active, which was determined by ledgers and products found on scene. Over 200 pounds of hash oil, 7,000 pounds of processed marijuana, over 600 marijuana plants, and an assault rifle were located at the scene. Lake County Sheriff’s Office Detectives and Lake County Victim’s Advocates found and identified three victims of forced labor human trafficking at the scene. The victims were provided with resources and services to assist them with their pathway to recovery from the traumatic conditions they were forced to be involved in.
During the investigation, another location, associated with the suspects of the laboratory, was discovered in the city of Clearlake. At this scene, over 11,000 marijuana plants were located. Additionally, Lake County Sheriff’s Office Detectives and Lake County Victim’s Advocates found and identified another victim of forced labor human trafficking at the scene. The victim was also provided with resources and services to assist them with their pathway to recovery from the traumatic conditions they were forced to be involved in.
Lake County Sheriff’s Office Detectives later served search warrants at properties associated with the suspects involved in the investigation in Sacramento and West Sacramento. During the service of the search warrants, over 50,000 cartridges of ammunition were located and seized. Over 20 firearms were seized, including several assault rifles. Over 100 pounds of hash oil product from the laboratory was located, as well as large amounts of packaged processed marijuana bud. Additionally, Lake County Sheriff’s Office Detectives discovered illegal proceeds earned through the unlawful sale of controlled substances. The assets included United States currency in excess of $300,000.00. The investigation is ongoing.
A special thanks to the supporting and assisting agencies in the investigation, who aided in maintaining the safety of the victims, the community, and the environment. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank Lake County Victim/Witness advocates, CALFIRE, Lake County Fire Protection District, Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Department of Justice, Sacramento Police Department, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, Lake County Code Enforcement, Clearlake Code Enforcement, and Lake County Environmental Health.
For more information and resources about human trafficking, visit humantraffickinghotline.org/en.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office remains dedicated to ensuring Lake County stays safe. To report any suspicious activity or possible human trafficking, call central dispatch (707)263-2690