Raid in August, 2017

Siskiyou County sheriff works to eliminate illegal pot grows

Raid in August, 2017

SISKIYOU COUNTY, Ore. – Law enforcement officers in Siskiyou County are continuing their campaign against illegal marijuana grows.

The latest statistics from the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office shows the county’s marijuana enforcement team seized 2,558 pounds of illegal cannabis plants and 2,558 pounds of processed marijuana over the last week.

Officers with the Siskiyou Interagency Marijuana Investigation Team (SIMIT) served 36 search warrants between October 12 and 21, raising the total SIMIT warrants to 175.

The sheriff’s office is working hard to eradicate illegal pot grows for a number of reasons, one of which is the impact on the environment. Illegal campfires, excessive debris and hazardous substances have been found at cultivation sites. “We continue to be concerned about the conditions of the environment during our search warrant operations that reinforce the fact that environmental damage and fire hazards are particularly common in many of these illicit grow sites,” said Sheriff Jon Lopey.

Sergeant Jeremiah LaRue added, “Major impacts of these illegal marijuana cultivation sites continue to include but are not limited to open camp fires, improper grading, human waste, run-off sentiment, nutrients and fertilizers leaching into the soil and watershed; improper site development, illegal road construction, run-off into streams, rivers, and lakes, illegal stream bed alternations, water thefts, and other public health and environmental concerns that adversely impact water quality and natural habitats, potentially harmful to birds, fish, other animals.”

The sheriff’s office said they’re seeing significant increases of illegal cannabis plants and processed marijuana compared to last year. The number of plants found at grows range from 99 to a high of 2,985 on a single parcel, well above what’s currently allowed by local and state law.

Sheriff Lopey said the growth of illegal marijuana grows in his county may be connected to mounting evidence of large-scale organized crime efforts.

Since SIMIT’s formation in 2016, the team has seized 27,071 plants, valued at an estimated $324.8 million on the retail drug market with an average three-pound yield per-plant.

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