Illegal Cannabis Operation Eradicated in Southern Sacramento County
Human Waste, Illegal Pesticides and Trash Discovered at Protected Wildlife Area
On September 9, wildlife officers with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) shut down an illegal cannabis operation on state property in southern Sacramento County.
Support was provided by the California Department of Justice’s Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP), National Guard and a CDFW environmental scientist from the cannabis program.
The illegal grow was discovered on the eastern end of the Cosumnes River Preserve near Highway 99 on land owned by CDFW. This is the fifth time an illegal grow has been found in this area. In 2020, an illegal grow was removed with hundreds of plants near Interstate 5 and in 2019 wildlife officers shut down an operation with 15,000 plants.
“There’s no question that enforcement operations of this nature prevent illegal cannabis from hitting the unregulated market,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division. “This property is designed to protect wildlife resources and should not be used to grow illegal cannabis or as a dump site for trash. Our native aquatic species and wildlife deserve much better.”
This operation eradicated over 1,300 plants. Piles of garbage, camping equipment, two generators and three makeshift latrines were discovered. Numerous environmental violations were documented by the onsite CDFW scientist, including a sophisticated illegal water diversion and a 10-foot-deep plastic lined mixing pond with unknown chemicals in it, which could be potentially deadly for wildlife who drink from it or become trapped and drown.
It’s estimated the plants had been in the ground for approximately 90 days and would have been harvested within a month. Large quantities of recently purchased food and water supplies were confiscated and donated to a local food bank.
The illegal grow was located in sensitive wildlife habitat and next to an ongoing research study that focused on state and federally listed giant garter snakes. The property is also home to otters, western pond turtles, mule deer, gray foxes, bobcats and hundreds of bird species.
No suspects have been arrested, yet, as a result of this multi-stakeholder operation.
CDFW encourages the public to report illegal cannabis cultivation and 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).
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 207-7891