Two men arrested at an illegal marijuana farm on Mendocino County’s Round Valley Indian Reservation were identified by authorities Wednesday afternoon, while eight other people found on the property were released because of concerns they might carry the coronavirus into the Mendocino County Jail, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Lt. Shannon Barney said.
Perrin Hoaglen, 69, lived on the property raided by authorities Tuesday morning, where more than 22,000 marijuana plants were located. He was booked into the Mendocino County Jail on suspicion of conspiring to operate the marijuana grow and for being a felon in possession of ammunition, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Deputies found ammunition inside Hoaglen’s home at the grow site during Tuesday’s search of the property on Refuge Road in Covelo. Because Hoaglen is a convicted sex offender, he is barred from owning the rounds, Barney said.
Adrian Silva Farias, 24, of Monroe, Washington, also was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to grow marijuana illegally, as well as marijuana cultivation and being armed during the commission of a felony. Authorities found a small caliber handgun in Farias’s car during their raid, Barney said.
Both men were released on $0 bail due to a statewide mandatory bail schedule adopted early last month in light of the coronavirus pandemic, which allows people suspected of minor and nonviolent crimes to be released without putting up money for bail.
The eight other people, five of whom were from San Jose, were not arrested due to concerns that they may carry the disease into the jail, and because they were suspected of committing only misdemeanor crimes at the onset of the investigation, Barney said.
“They’re coming in from San Jose in Santa Clara County, and that’s a hotspot for COVID,” Barney said.
The suspects’ roles on the marijuana farm are still under investigation, however, and authorities will decide later whether to forward cases for the eight people who were released to prosecutors, who could decide to file charges, Barney said.
San Jose police detectives also helped search the property, which is thought to be the last known location of a San Jose man reported missing to the agency on April 24. Three search dogs combed the area for the man, Victor “Gallo” Medina, 29, but he was not located.
Chemicals used for marijuana cultivation were located in addition to 55 greenhouses where plants were stored, as well as a drain that ran through the property and into the nearby Mill Creek, authorities said. An environmental report of the location by the California Fish and Wildlife Department is pending.
Mendocino County Sheriff’s deputies began investigating the property last month after tribe members voiced concerns about the marijuana garden and others like it on the Round Valley Indian Reservation, the Sheriff’s Office said. Some of the growers, who were coming from outside of the reservation, were reportedly invited onto properties on the reservation by tribal members, while others were not. Reports of gunfire and acts of intimidation associated with the marijuana gardens followed, the Sheriff’s Office said.
You can reach Staff Writer Nashelly Chavez at 707-521-5203 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @NashellyTweets