Authorities in Shasta County say they raided a large cannabis farm in February and seized more than 2,000 plants.
Officers with the Marijuana Investigation Team at the Shasta County sheriff’s Office said they served search warrants on two sites in unincorporated parts of the county. The team allegedly found 2,154 plants.
One person was arrested, and authorities said they were looking for another. Shasta County Sheriff’s officers were joined by the Shasta County Interagency Narcotic Task Force, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Team, and the Burney Patrol Division.
14,000 plants found at first location
There were more than 1,400 plants at the first of the two locations, authorities said. Officers also found 5 pounds of processed cannabis, multiple firearms, and a generator used to power a large commercial marijuana grow.
In addition, officers took two boats, a utility box trailer, and a motorcycle, all used in the cultivation operation, the sheriff’s office said.
Baron Risling, 35, of Hoopa, was arrested and charged with possessing a gun as a convicted felon, along with several violations of county health and safety codes. He was booked at the Shasta County Jail.
660 plants found at second location
At the second site, officers found another elaborate indoor pot garden with more than 660 plants. Authorities said they also found several code violations at the property, but no one was there, and no additional arrests were made.
Authorities said they were still looking for a second person, who they said was their primary suspect. They issued an arrest warrant for George Reuben Carey, a 32-year-old resident of Oak Run. The sheriff’s department said officers plan to hand the case to the county prosecutor’s office once they arrest Carey.
The bust is no surprise, given the risk illicit growers take in Northern California. That part of the state is notorious for raiding growers and dispensary owners. Ironically, it’s also the source of most of the state’s marijuana supply – much of which ends up in other states.
Emerald Triangle regularly targeted by feds
Federal prosecutors and the DEA have taken a special interest in the region, especially Trinity, Mendocino, and Humboldt counties, the so-called Emerald Triangle. Federal raids and prosecutions have largely tapered off, following a memo from President Barack Obama instructing them to back off medical marijuana providers.
But that hasn’t stopped local police and state agencies from targeting the cannabis industry. Most of their attention is focused on illegal farms, but even those busts are bad for the local economy, which relies heavily on weed.
The February bust won’t make much of a difference. Most of the nation’s marijuana comes from California, where medical cannabis has been legal since 1996.
Full legalization may not be far off, as activists are pushing a campaign to put the question on the ballot in November. The leading group, headed by tech billionaire Sean Parker, has already brought in $2 million in donations.