In a series of targeted enforcement actions, wildlife officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Marijuana Enforcement Team (MET) have clamped down on illegal cannabis cultivation operations in Northern California in August and September.
From September 4th to 8th, MET officers launched a focused effort against illicit cannabis operations on rural private lands spanning Shasta, Tehama, and Sutter counties. This operation was initiated based on a tip from a vigilant hunter who discovered one of these unauthorized grow sites and promptly reported it. As a result of their actions, MET officers eradicated more than 5,500 illegal cannabis plants, apprehended four suspects, seized several firearms, including one stolen handgun, dismantled numerous water diversions, and removed thousands of pounds of trash.
“Many recreationists who venture into California’s backcountry are our best eyes and ears for reporting poaching, pollution, and illegal cannabis cultivation on public land,” said Nathaniel Arnold, Acting Chief of Enforcement for CDFW.
In an operation inspired by information provided through CDFW’s confidential CALTIP program, MET officers conducted an operation on CDFW property at the Putah Creek Wildlife Area in Solano County on August 24th. They utilized assistance from CDFW’s drones to eradicate 809 illegal cannabis plants, airlift 1,140 pounds of trash from the area, dismantle an illegal water diversion, seize a loaded assault rifle, and remove an assortment of chemicals and fertilizers found near a tributary.
From August 9th to 11th, MET officers focused their efforts on U.S. Forest Service land in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. During the week, they dismantled multiple illegal water diversions, seized restricted pesticides, and documented numerous environmental crimes. Their actions resulted in the eradication of 5,967 cannabis plants, destruction of over 157 pounds of processed cannabis, and the removal of 1,970 pounds of trash, 300 pounds of fertilizer, and 1,780 feet of irrigation pipe. This operation led to the arrest of five suspects, one of whom was armed with a handgun and another with an assault rifle.
CALTIP, the confidential secret witness program, encourages the public to share information leading to the arrest of poachers and polluters. If you have information about such a violation, you can contact them at (888) 334-CALTIP (888 334-2258), available 24/7.