The operator of an illegal cannabis operation in Kern County is facing several felony charges after multiple environmental violations were found on her property.
On March 11, officers at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) served a search warrant on a 15-acre property in Garlock, east of Bakersfield.
The warrant was part of an investigation into illegal cannabis cultivation and associated environmental crimes. Assistance was provided by CDFW’s environmental scientists and the Kern County Sheriff’s Department.
Onsite, officers eradicated 41,053 illegal cannabis plants being grown in 26 of the 43 greenhouses on the property. Approximately 2,000 lbs. of processed cannabis was discovered and destroyed. Five loaded firearms staged in various locations throughout the property were also seized.
CDFW scientists documented several environmental violations, which ranged from a streambed alteration to depositing chemicals, petroleum, trash and human waste into a waterway. One significant violation was a large hole dug into the streambed’s bottom where thousands of pounds of trash, debris, tires, piping, fertilizer, pesticide containers and nonoperational vehicles had been discarded.
“We support the regulated market and those taking steps to reduce environmental impacts,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division. “Illegal operators such as this one, are a detriment to those legally cultivating cannabis. Our staff and county partners did an exceptional job in conducting this investigation.”
In addition to the property owner who was onsite during the warrant service, officers also arrested 14 subjects for a variety of Fish and Game Code and Health and Safety Code violations.
CDFW encourages the public to report environmental crimes such as water pollution and poaching to the CalTIP hotline by calling (888) 334-2258 or by texting information to “TIP411” (847411).