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The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office’s Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) conducted a three-day operation and served six search warrants in the areas of Burr Valley and Larabee Valley this week to investigate allegations of illegal cultivation of marijuana. The private parcels in question had no applications on file with Humboldt County Building and Planning and no permits issued for the cultivation of commercial marijuana. The following agencies assisted DEU with this investigation: Wardens from California Fish and Wildlife, Environmental Scientists from California Fish and Wildlife, CAL Fire Law Enforcement Officers, a specialist from the Humboldt County Environmental Health and HAZMAT Unit, Humboldt County Code Enforcement officers, and personnel from the California Army National Guard Counter Drug Unit.
Search warrants were served on six different private parcels. A total of 11,412 marijuana plants were eradicated. Processed marijuana in the amount of 1,153 pounds was seized and destroyed. Three arrests were made and one fire arm was seized. The following subjects were arrested and charged with felony marijuana cultivation (HS 11358 (d) (3)D), Conspiracy (PC 182(a)), and Stream Alterations (FG 1602):
William Woods, age 32
Brian Woods, age 29
Stephen Passio, age 31
William Woods was also taken into custody for outstanding felony warrants. The property owners associated with these private parcels are still under investigation. California Fish and Wildlife, Cal Fire Law Enforcement, County Code Enforcement, and the Environmental Health HAZAMAT Unit all located violations during the three-day operation.
California Fish and Wildlife conducted a parallel investigation on these parcels and discovered violations for Fish & Game Code Sections:
1602 (Streambed alteration and water diversion) Violations: 9
5650 (pollution) Violations: 8
5652 (trash) Violations: 1
CAL Fire officers conducted a parallel investigation and discovered timber conversion violations. Persons responsible for the violations were issued citations.
Humboldt County Code Enforcement officers conducted parallel investigations and discovered violations for Unapproved Sewage disposal, Construction without a permit, Grading without a permit, Junk vehicles, using the property as a junk yard, and Commercial cannabis permit violations.
County HAZMAT Unit discovered the following violations: Failure to submit a hazardous materials plan for a 125-gallon propane tank, Unauthorized hazardous waste storage, and Discharge of waste oil to the soil.
All criminal violations stemming from the marijuana cultivation investigation will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s office for review. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office maintains a cooperative relationship with all agencies that participated in this investigation. All future investigations into non-compliant marijuana operations will continue to be investigated in this manner.
Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.
William Woods (above)
Brian Woods (above)
Stephen Passio (above)