The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) and
allied agencies seized more than 31,000 marijuana
plants during a recent eradication operation.
On Thursday, Sept. 22, the SCSO Marijuana Eradication Team (MET), Sheriff’s Special Response Team, United States Forest Service (USFS) and the Jackson County (Ore.) Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) conducted a marijuana eradication operation on the North Fork of the Salmon River in the vicinity of Red Banks campground, which is located between Sawyers Bar and Forks of Salmon.
A large marijuana garden had been detected in this area during a recent SCSO reconnaissance of the area, according to an SCSO press release.
About 31,035 mature marijuana plants were located and seized for destruction during the operation. The estimated street value of a mature marijuana plant is approximately $3,000; total street value of the plants seized is estimated at $93,105,000.
A large tent containing food supplies was found within the garden. It is believed that there were three to four suspects living at the site who left the area about a week prior to the raid for unknown reasons, according to the release.
Earlier in the month, the MET, Special Response Team
and USFS Law Enforcement division conducted
reconnaissance and eradication operations on five
different gardens in western Siskiyou County within
the Highway 96 corridor. Two of these sites were
located north of Happy Camp, near the Oregon border.
These two marijuana gardens were found unoccupied,
and the seizure of over 4,500 marijuana plants
resulted from the operation, the release said.
Three additional sites were located west of Happy Camp along the Humboldt County line close to Somes Bar. Two of these sites are believed to have been operated by the same suspects, according to the release.
Several tents and living areas were found unoccupied by investigators.
The largest of these sites contained 66,578 marijuana plants in two separates pods most likely being operated by a drug trafficking organization. All of the marijuana plants were seized for destruction. Evidence was collected and an ongoing investigation is underway to identify the suspects involved in these illicit drug operations, the release said.
Total seizures for the two-day operation were 71,056 plants, with an approximate street value of $213,168,000.
“I would like to remind the public to be especially alert and vigilant during this time of year since the marijuana harvest season is still underway and conflicts between the public and those conducting illegal growing operations are possible on public and private lands,” Sheriff Jon Lopey said. “People who encounter gardening supplies, irrigation systems and isolated camps should immediately leave the area and contact law enforcement authorities. The Sheriff’s Office’s Marijuana Eradication Team will aggressively investigate all reports of suspicious marijuana cultivation activity.”
Lopey commended the assistance and support the SCSO received from the USFS, the JCSO and the California Department of Fish and Game.
“These agency members and our own MET members often risk their lives in hazardous terrain to rid our lands of the marijuana scourge,” Lopey said.
Residents with information about marijuana cultivation operations are urged to contact the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office at 841-2900. Those who wish to talk with MET investigators directly or prefer to remain anonymous may leave a message at 842-8328. For additional safety information regarding outdoor cultivation activities, contact MET Supervisor Sgt. Mike Gilley at 842-8328 or SCSO Dispatch at 841-2900.