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RED BLUFF— The California Department of Fish and Wildlife discovered numerous environmental crimes that took place at an illegal cannabis growth in Tehama County.

The department served a search warrant May 21 for illegal commercial cannabis cultivation on a remote parcel around  30 miles west of Red Bluff, according to a press release issued this week. The suspects allegedly brandished firearms at nearby residents, which forced Fish and Wildlife and local authorities to take immediate action.

Around 28,733 illegal cannabis plants were eradicated, 165 pounds of processed cannabis destroyed and three firearms seized, the release said. Onsite officers found evidence of at least 10 poached wildlife species including deer, pigs, ducks and fish.

Officers arrested four suspects for felony cannabis cultivation, conspiracy, possession of a firearm while committing a felony along with an additional 20 counts of various environmental crimes.

Violations included unlawful stream diversions, use of restricted pesticides, sediment and petroleum product pollution and depositing litter where it can enter waters of the state, the release said. Fish and Wildlife is conducting further investigations before it decides how to proceed with the additional charges.

“Wildlife officers continue to work with our allied agency partners to combat and shut down illegal cannabis cultivation sites,” said David Bess, deputy director and chief of the law enforcement division. “Too often, illegal growers move into vacant private lands, take up residency and setup unlicensed large-scale operations, which can severely impact California’s native fish and wildlife.”

Fish and Wildlife encourages the public to report environmental crimes such as water pollution, water diversions and poaching to the CalTIP hotline by calling (888) 334-2258 or texting information to “TIP411” (847411).

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