PETROLIA – Over 13,000 marijuana plants, 6,500 pounds of processed marijuana, one rifle, two pistols and two felony arrests – those are the stats from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Drug Enforcement Unit’s three day long investigation into unpermitted grows in the Conklin Creek area of Petrolia.
The operation started Tuesday and three search warrants were served to five parcels, with three of the parcels being under the same LLC.
The first parcel, with about 2,000 plants and 460 pounds of processed marijuana is where investigators found 22-year old Alexandro Sandoval.
He was in possession of a 9 millimeter pistol and was arrested and charged with felony cultivation, possession of marijuana for sales and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
Investigators found multiple environmental violations related to the cultivation site – including water diversions, trash in stream, construction without a permit and unlawful sewage discharge.
HAZMAT also found unauthorized waste storage – including four 55 gallon drums containing fuel and another full of motor oil.
At the second parcel, there were 8 greenhouses, 3,900 plants, and Fish and Wildlife located multiple water diversion and streambed alterations, among many other violations.
There, law enforcement made an arrest of 53-year-old Rodolfo Machado for felony cultivation and possession of marijuana for sales.
On day two, 17 greenhouses were found on three parcels, all under the same LLC.
They had a total of 7,200 thousand marijuana plants and 6,000 pounds of processed marijuana.
Investigators say ‘large amounts of diesel fuel’ were also found leaking into the ground in two separate locations, one just across the road from Conklin Creek.
The subjects of this LLC are still under investigation.
HCSO along with multiple other agencies were involved in the operation, including:
Wardens from California Fish and Wildlife, Environmental Scientists from California Fish and Wildlife, Agents with Bureau of Land Management, State Water board, CAL Fire, specialist from the Humboldt County Environmental Health and HAZMAT Unit, Humboldt County Code Enforcement officers, and personnel from the California Army National Guard Counter Drug Unit.
All criminal violations are being forwarded to the District Attorney’s office.