Saturday, September 23, 2023

California’s Cannabis Taskforce Targets Covelo Grow Sites Eradicating an Estimated $45 Million of Product

The following is a press release issued by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

A hoop house eradicated by CDFW eradication efforts [All photos provided by CDFW]

During the week of Aug. 21, wildlife officers at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) led a Unified Cannabis Enforcement Taskforce (UCETF) operation in Covelo and the surrounding areas in Mendocino County. The operation was based on suspected illegal cannabis cultivation and associated environmental crimes.

Supporting agencies and staff included: Department of Cannabis Control, Regional Waterboard, Waterboard Division of Water Rights, California Department of Parks and Recreation, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, Department of Toxic Substances Control and CDFW environmental scientists.

A water impoundment was discovered near one of the cannabis grow sites

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 county permit and state license. In this case, no county permits or state licenses to cultivate or manufacture commercial cannabis had been issued.

The operation targeted 29 properties, where officers located and eradicated over 41,000 cannabis plants, destroyed over 7,000 pounds of processed cannabis and seized 40 firearms. The estimated retail value of the illegal cannabis is $45,375,000.

Another hoop house eradicated by CDFW

Officers also detained 15 suspects and encountered several sites with suspected unregistered or unknown pesticides. Over 120 Fish and Game Code violations were documented, along with 34 Water Code violations.

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These are ongoing investigations and no other information is available at this time.

Created in 2022, UCETF has been charged by Governor Newsom to increase cannabis enforcement coordination between state, local and federal partners. The Taskforce is co-chaired by the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and coordinated by the Homeland Security Division of Cal OES. The taskforce includes more than two dozen local, state, and federal partners working together to disrupt the illegal cannabis supply chain.

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  1. Detained suspects. Who are these suspects? Why no names published, like other criminals names in the media? If the grows were this large on 29 parcels, this has been going on there for months. The damage already happened. Thank you to law enforcement, but what can be done sooner, before the damage happens is the question? Governor Newsom only ask for very low fines on a crop worth 45,000,000.?? Wow. And no arrest. Just detained? This smells fishy to me. Citizen’s can grow 6 plants for themselves. This is global resource robbery of Mendocino County. This is exsctly how the Jungles of Columbia & the Gorilla armys that terrorized & killed innocent local citizens, came into power in their minds. I blame the Governor and I blame apathy about addiction & drug criminals for this states declining quality of life and environmental disasters. Do not vote this man into any other office. He is not proactive. He is only coming in this county, after the calamities have occured. Not passing new legislation to stop it beforehand or have a real punishment for a crime that is taking over Californias only wilderness left after the massive fires. Where do wildlife live & survive? And where do citizens live safely without neighbors that grow drugs for the world and crminals that show up to rob these sites? Sadly…not in California anymore. Caring about people means not enabling addiction, but helping them stop using completely.

  2. So these criminals are growing poisoned cannabis! If they are using pesticides and other unknown chemicals not only are they damaging the environment , they are poisoning the people who unknowingly ingest their poison pot. All they get is “detained” ?Well hell whats the point of following the law and licensing regulations! What a slap in the face to all the legal growers who keep their product chemical free and pay their fees and taxes! Where are all the over zealous narcs that used to drop in by helicopter and raid illegal grows back before legalization? Environmental crimes should be felonies , growing and selling poisoned cannabis should be a felony!

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MendoFever Staff
MendoFever Staff
Editor's Note: Whenever an article's byline reads "MendoFever Staff", the contents of that article were not composed by any of our reporters. Types of writing that will be attributed to "MendoFever Staff" include press releases, letters to the editor, op-eds, obituaries— essentially writing that is not produced by a reporter.

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