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Felony Charges for Illegal Cultivation and Numerous Environmental Crimes

Last month, nine men and one woman were sentenced for illegal activities associated with a black market cannabis operation in Sacramento County.  The illegal grow was discovered last summer on property owned by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) which is part of the Cosumnes River Preserve. It was eradicated and cleaned up by CDFW’s wildlife officers with support from the California Department of Water Resources and allied enforcement agencies in July 2019. The case was then prosecuted by the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office Major Narcotics Unit.

Charges for the defendants included illegal cultivation, possession of loaded firearms, illegal water diversion, habitat destruction and substantially causing environmental harm to public land. Sentencing ranged from three years in state prison to months in county jail. One defendant had been previously arrested and sentenced in Sacramento County for an illegal grow of a similar nature in 2015.

“I’m deeply grateful to the Sacramento County District Attorney’s office for all the hard work they put into prosecuting this egregious case,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division. “This illegal cannabis operation was not only causing great harm to our fish and wildlife but was also a public safety threat to those enjoying the wonderful resources of this preserve.”

The illegal grow was found in sensitive wildlife habitat, which is home to hundreds of bird species and more than 40 types of fish including federally threatened steelhead. During the mission, over 15,000 plants were eradicated, 3,000 lbs. of processed cannabis seized and three loaded firearms were confiscated.

More details on the July 2019 eradication mission can be found at https://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2019/08/05/water-filter-device-from-illegal-diversion-pulled-from-nearby-waterway/.

To report illegal cannabis cultivation or environmental crimes, such as water diversions, pollution and poaching, call the CalTIP hotline at (888) 334-2258 or text information to “TIP411” (847411).

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Media Contact:
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 207-7891

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