Joint News Release
For Immediate Release
June 25, 2008 4:20 p.m.
Operation Southern Sweep' Targets Commercial Marijuana Growers
Around 7 a.m. Tuesday approximately 450 local, state, and federal law enforcement personnel
executed 29 search warrants in Humboldt and Mendocino Counties. The warrants stemmed from
a nearly two-year investigation targeting a large commercial marijuana cultivation and distribution
Law enforcement officers raided grow houses and residences in Shelter Cove, Whitethorn,
Redway, Ettersburg, Garberville, Miranda, Phillipsville, Arcata, and McKinleyville. They also
secured and are searching almost 2000 acres in southern Humboldt County and northern
Mendocino County belonging to the targets of the investigation.
Over the course of Tuesday's activity, officers located around ten thousand marijuana plants
estimated to be worth between $25 and $60 million on the street. They seized 30 firearms,
including fully automatic weapons, one vehicle, and over $160 thousand in cash.
No charges have been filed and none of the targets of the investigation were arrested during
yesterday's raids. However, FBI agents arrested one man for assault on a federal agent during
the execution of the search warrants.
"This is not a medical marijuana operation or a group of people growing for personal use," said
FBI Special Agent in Charge Charlene B. Thornton. "It's a large-scale, for-profit, commercial
business. The targets of our investigation are reaping huge profits while contributing to the crime
and violence oppressing communities across the state."
California Department of Justice Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement Special Agent in Charge Sara
Marie Simpson said, "Californians voted for reasonable personal use of medicinal marijuana for
qualified patients-not massive wholesale growing operations. When large quantities of cash
start changing hands, crime and violence soon follow and that will not be tolerated by law
Beginning in early 2006, members of BNE's Redding regional office initiated an investigation into
a California-based organization which had purchased a large parcel of mountainous land in the
southern Humboldt and northern Mendocino County areas, and was suspected of growing large
amounts of marijuana on the land and selling it for profit. Due to the large scale and scope of the
investigation, BNE invited the FBI to participate.
Upon checking the area, agents located numerous buildings and greenhouses on the properties.
No building permits had been issued for any of the structures on the properties. A review of
aerial photos showed construction and grading in the area had increased year to year.
Investigators believed the subjects were working together on the rural properties to grow
marijuana to be sold for profit.
This investigation has been a cooperative effort between the FBI, BNE, Internal Revenue Service,
United States Postal Inspection Service, United States Drug Enforcement Administration,
California Highway Patrol, California National Guard Counter Drug Task Force, United States
Forest Service, Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, California Department of Fish and Game,
Eureka Police Department, Humboldt County Sheriff's Office, Mendocino County Sheriff's Office,
and the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office. CA DOJ/BNE task forces included the North and South
Butte Interagency Narcotic Task Force, Tehama Interagency Drug Enforcement, Glenn
Interagency Narcotic Task Force, Shasta Interagency Narcotic Task Force, Siskiyou County
Interagency Narcotic Task Force, Humboldt County Drug Task Force, Mendocino County Major
Crimes Task Force, San Jose Unified Narcotic Enforcement Team, and the Madera County
Narcotic Enforcement Team.
Cynthia Elkins from the KMUD news department talked with a special agent in charge from the Department of Justice.
Here's the audio:
Use this link if you'd like to download the file or if the player above doesn't work for you. Right-click on the link to download (control-click on the Mac).
Here are some links to coverage of the law enforcement activities in our area:
Eureka Reporter: Operation Southern Sweep to continue for a few days
Los Angeles Times: Raids smoke out large marijuana operation in Humboldt County
Times-Standard: Major sting targets commercial grow op
Video from the Times-Standard:
Also, keep in mind that the Civil Liberties Monitoring Project has a strong interest in these events. If you have something to report to them you can call them at (707) 923-4646, or just visit civilliberties.org
This March 19 meeting was called by the Humboldt Coalition for Property Rights and was attended by an overflow crowd at the Healy Senior Center in Redway. Because of the high interest in the issue KMUD makes a recording of the meeting available for listening and downloading. We thank our volunteer James Ficklin for the recording.
(The recording was split into two parts only to make it easier to upload and download.)
Part one (57 minutes):
Here's the link to this audio file in case you'd like to download it, or if your browser doesn't have Flash installed: cpr1.mp3
Use the right mouse button and choose Save Link As (some browsers
display it as Download Link Target, and on a Mac hold the Control key
while clicking on the link).
Part two (53 minutes):
Here's the link to this audio file in case you'd like to download it, or if your browser doesn't have Flash installed: cpr2.mp3
Use the right mouse button and choose Save Link As (some browsers display it as Download Link Target, and on a Mac hold the Control key while clicking on the link).
Other video formats are available at http://www.archive.org/details/AH-Richardson_Grove_Protest
Community journalist Kerry Reynolds talk with cannabis expert Dr. William Courtney, Cannabis Medical Consultant. Dr. Courtney recently spent a month in Europe meeting with other cannabis researchers.
EUREKA, CA — Access Humboldt (http://accesshumboldt.net) is
collaborating with Redway/Garberville-based Redwood Community Radio
(KMUD, http://kmud.org) to offer audio production and community
journalism classes in Humboldt County.
The first audio editing class will run from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. on
Saturday, April 9th at the Access Humboldt Community Media Center and
will cover producing and recording a radio story, as well as editing
sound recordings with Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net), a
free, open-source audio editing program. KMUD News Coordinator and
Community Journalism Project Manager Terri Klemetson will lead the
class, with assistance from KMUD community journalists and Access
Furthermore, thanks to Eureka High School and Eureka Adult School,
Access Humboldt and KMUD will also have access to the high-end
Macintosh computers in Eureka High School's multimedia editing
classroom for the audio editing class.
The class will cost $15, or $5 for Access Humboldt and KMUD members.
To register, call Access Humboldt at (707) 476-1798 or email
An additional class is planned for Saturday, April 30th at the Hoopa
Tribal Radio (KIDE, http://kidefm.org) studios in Hoopa, and more
classes will follow at other locations around Humboldt County. With
these classes, KMUD and Access Humboldt aim to increase the number of
community journalists and local story tellers trained in radio
production, which will in turn increase the amount of local
programming on regional community radio stations like KMUD and KIDE.
For more information, see Access Humboldt's website:
We found this graphic representation of levels of radiation on http://xkcd.com/radiation/ via boingboing.net where there's also an interesting discussion going on about it. (click on the image to make it bigger)
Check our Safety & Public Awareness link in the news section for more interesting links, including RadNet monitoring data for the Eureka area.