August 17, 2016 – On August 16, 2016 at approximately 8:50 AM, the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Task Force executed a criminal marijuana search warrant in the 19000 block of Brewer Road, located off of Highway 49. Upon arrival, detectives contacted and detained four subjects on the property. Three of the subjects were identified as Clinton Cates (41) years old from Tucson Arizona, Kees Dejong (24) years old from Palo Alto California, and Michael Orbell (30) years old out of Niles Illinois. The fourth subject was identified as being from Austin Texas, but was determined not to be involved in the operation and was eventually released.
During the search of the property, detectives located three different hoop houses and a large outdoor plot that contained a total of 553 marijuana plants under cultivation in various stages of growth. Detectives also located numerous starter plants inside the residence as well as an additional 180 immature marijuana plants behind the residence.
After interviews were conducted it was determined there were only three valid recommendations for the marijuana being cultivated on the property and three of the subjects were there tending to the plants.
It was also determined that the female property owner was currently in San Diego who was responsible for the marijuana grow. Due to the amount of marijuana being cultivated on the property, Cates, Dejong and Orbell were all taken into custody and booked into the Wayne Brown Correctional Facility for Illegal Cultivation of Marijuana.
A total of 733 marijuana plants were eradicated. Due to locating multiple electrical items being run in and around the hoop houses, along with several hundred feet of extension cords and other wiring running through the tall dry grass, Nevada County Code Enforcement was requested to respond to the scene.
After Code Enforcement was on scene it was determined that the site was unsafe and we requested PG&E to respond. Once PG&E was on scene all power was turned off to the property.
Detectives also requested a Warden from Fish and Wildlife to respond to the location, due to the fact they have been investigating recent water diversion in the area occurring from the Little Wolf Creek, which runs through the property. Once Fish and Wildlife was on scene it was determined that the water diversion had been occurring on the adjacent property also located in the 19000 block of Brewer Road.
The Game Warden, along with Code Enforcement and a member of the Task Force responded to the adjacent property after hearing what sounded like a water pump running near the creek.
Once on site they contacted two subjects living on the property from Hawaii. The Warden again located a water pump diverting water from the creek area that was providing water to approximately 300 marijuana plants under cultivation. They also located two travel trailers that the subjects were living in that had open sewage lines running down towards the creek area.
Both subjects claimed that they were not using the restrooms in the trailers and had recently dug a latrine away from the creek area. After discussion with both subjects they were advised regarding the County ordinance pertaining to the marijuana and that we would be returning for a future inspection of the marijuana under cultivation.
Fish and Wildlife will also be filing a case with the Nevada County District Attorney’s Office for the water diversion along with the Nevada County Code Enforcement taking action against the property owner regarding the remaining violations that were occurring.