Last week’s tri-county marijuana cultivation raids in the Island Mountain area have drawn a lot of attention, not only locally but statewide. Mother Jones, the New York Times and many others have all taken note of the “raid of the decade,” with much of the coverage focusing on the connection to environmental consequences of large-scale backwoods weed operations in a time of drought. The raids were Exhibit A in a state Senate hearing on marijuana and water politics Wednesday.
According to Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman, over 85,000 plants were found and eradicated in the raids over a four-day period and across Mendocino, Trinity and Humboldt counties, along with lots of processed buds, hash, guns, ammunition and multitudinous environmental violations. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office issued its own, Humboldt-specific tally on Friday, and noted that local law enforcement had obtained seven separate search warrants that it served in the area last week.
Those search warrants are slowly trickling back into the Humboldt County Superior Court’s records office. As of this morning, three of the seven were available for public viewing, and they provide some detail on the targets of the raids and how the Sheriff’s Office came to develop probable cause to conduct an eradication operation in the Island Mountain area.
Lt. Wayne Hanson of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office told the Outpost this morning that his office still has yet to arrest anyone in connection with the raids, but he affirmed that arrest warrants would likely be forthcoming.
The three search warrant files available for view Thursday morning each contained an affidavit from Deputy Sheriff Conan Moore, who testified that he developed probable cause to search the properties in question during a flyover of the area on June 11. In each case, he and colleagues took photos of large-scale operations on the parcels which were eventually targeted — hoop houses, greenhouses, open marijuana fields — and that these photographs, together with his experience and training, led him to conclude that illegal operations — illegal cultivation “exceeding what would be reasonable for medical purposes” — were “very probably present” on the sites.
Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Dale Reinholtsen authorized the warrants on June 17.
One of the warrants issued was for 908 Hogtrap Road, also known as Humboldt County assessor’s parcel #218-071-003, which is owned by John J. Perricone and Ann F. Hammond. In his affidavit, Deputy Moore testified that he saw an open-field marijuana grow and 16 large hoop-style greenhouses on the site during his flyover, along with heavy machinery working on a water holding pond and 22 large water tanks on a ridgeline associated with the property.
According to the “return sheet” attached to the warrant, on the day of the raid officers discovered over 5,000 plants at this location, along with trash bags and tote bags filled with bud, a scale and a Seal-a-Meal, in addition to what officers characterize as “pay and owe” financial records, presumably relating to the sale of weed.
Perricone is a cofounder of California Cannabis Voice-Humboldt, according to a January story in the Redwood Times, and is presumably the person referred to in last week’s Outpost story about the connection between the Island Mountain raids and the local lobbying organization for cannabis farmers.
A second search warrant covered two adjacent parcels on South Face Road — APN numbers 218-081-005 and 218-101-005, belonging to William F. Walter and Hsueh-Mei Yang. Deputy Moore testified that he spotted several distinct growing operations from the air at the site, including more hoop houses and raised beds containing hundreds of plants. On the day it was raided, deputies logged 3,500 plants, 860 pounds of “processed” marijuana and 1,267 pounds of “drying” marijuana, along with scales, another Seal-a-Meal, and firearms and ammunition.
The third warrant available Thursday morning was served on the easternmost parcels — parcel numbers #218-151-006 and #218-181-003, owned, according to the warrant, by Sally Peterson and Mary Hoogeveen. Officers spotted 10 hoop greenhouses and an open-field grow from the air during the flyover, according to Moore’s affidavit. At least four firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition were confiscated when the search warrant was served at this site, along with 3,056 live plants, 157 pounds of “processed bud” and more of “manicured” and “dried” bud.
(NOTE: KMUD news director Terri Klemetson tells us that despite being listed in the affidavit as a co-owner of the parcels above, Mary Hoogeveen died last year.)
It is not known when the other four search warrants served in the Island Mountain raids will be made public. Lt. Hanson told the Outpost Thursday that he is uncertain exactly what stage the deputies working the case are at, at the moment, though he said that they are still actively processing the requisite paperwork.