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On May 5, Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office in partnership with the North State Major Investigation Team conducted two counter-drug raids on Mildred Drive in the Mt. Shasta Vista area of Siskiyou County, netting a combined total of 1,237 illegal marijuana plants and starter clones.

The first search warrant operation involved a search of two greenhouses, said the SCSO in a press release. One greenhouse was inactive but the other yielded 590 illegal marijuana plants and 104 starter clones were found nearby. Sewage from a nearby trailer was leaking into the soil and one suspect was detained and later released for illegal marijuana cultivation offenses.

The second parcel involved two greenhouses, both of which contained illegal marijuana plants, the SCSO noted. That parcel and its greenhouses yielded 352 growing marijuana plants and 191 starter clone plants. No one was located at the second location.

It is anticipated that environmental crimes will also be filed against the property owners involved in the illegal drug trafficking operations, the SCSO noted.

SCSO’s SIMIT is a drug task force that primarily enforces current county ordinances and state law that relates to illicit marijuana drug trafficking on private property areas of the county, according to the SCSO. NSMIT is a drug task force that is led by the California Department of Justice

A plan is being coordinated with the DOJ and the Central Valley High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, which will designate agents formerly assigned to the now defunded Siskiyou Unified Major Investigation Team to incorporate with NSMIT, according to Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey.

“The NSMIT-SUMIT consolidation, when complete, will address illicit drug challenges in the region and county that involve methamphetamine, opioids like heroin, fentanyl and narcotic analgesics, along with other illegal drugs such as cocaine, designer drugs, and illegal prescription drug activities,” Lopey said.

It is anticipated the new consolidation will involve the assignment of assets from SCSO, Yreka Police Department, California Highway Patrol, and the Siskiyou County Probation Department. NSMIT also receives support from the United States Forest Service, Etna Police Department, United States Bureau of Land Management, CA DOJ, California Army and Air National Guard’s Counter-Drug Unit.

Siskiyou County was designated, at the request of the SCSO’s management team several years ago, as a HIDTA county as it is “overwhelmed by illicit drug challenges and illegal trafficking operations within its borders” and on major highways such as Interstate 5, and highways 97, 89, and 96.

During 2019 SIMIT nearly doubled its seizures from the previous year, with detectives serving 154 search warrants throughout the county, the SCSO reported. SIMIT seized 44,369 illegal marijuana plants and confiscated 16,759.5 pounds of processed marijuana. Nine arrests, 10 citations, and 15 firearms were seized, as well as $29,596 in drug currency.

During routine traffic stops, mostly near the end of the marijuana harvest season, SCSO deputies seized 63 illicit plants and 2,074.4 pounds of processed or partially-processed marijuana from vehicles.

Combining the SIMIT and NSMIT seizure totals for Siskiyou County, there were 61,599 illicit marijuana plants seized and 17,763.5 pounds of processed marijuana confiscated during their operations in various parts of the county.

Estimated values of the illicit marijuana seized by both task forces, using East Coast retail drug values (based on an average three pound plant-yield in the county) totals $369 million to $554 million, the SCSO reported.

Anyone with information about illegal marijuana cultivation operations is urged to contact the SCSO’s 24-hour Dispatch Center at (530) 841-2900. Complaints concerning “quality of life” issues such as building, water, sewage, or refuse may be directed to the Siskiyou County Community Development office at (530) 841-2100.

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