Photo courtesy NCSO

NEVADA CITY, Calif. August 5, 2019 – During the first part of 2019, the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO) was asked to participate in a statewide marijuana operation for specific target locations that were possibly polluting California waterways/watersheds with pollutants from large-scale marijuana cultivation sites, as well as illegal dumping and water runoff. The California Water Quality Control Board provided several counties lists of suggested targets ranging from high priority to lower priority targets.

The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigation Unit (SIU) conducted aerial surveillance of the targets provided and developed a list of properties that contained substantial marijuana gardens in close proximity to watersheds.

Photo courtesy NCSO

On 8-01-2019 and 8-02-2019, The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, National Guard Counter Drug Team, Yuba County Sheriff’s Office, Nevada County Marijuana Code Enforcement Team and the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office worked together to investigate the violations at the high priority target sites.

During the two-day operation eight (8) search warrants were executed at eight (8) separate locations, ranging from all ends of Nevada County.

When the operation was complete, a total of 5,324 marijuana plants were seized and destroyed, 22 water board violations were cited, 26 Fish and Wildlife violations were cited, approximately 60 Nevada County Marijuana Code Compliance violations were noted, one person was arrested and 48 counts of felony marijuana cultivation are currently under investigation.

Photo courtesy NCSO

Nevada County Sheriff Shannan Moon stated: “None of the properties involved had any type of cannabis permit or license, either through the County or the State. The County Ordinance provides a pathway for legal cannabis cultivation – the operation last week targeted locations of clear environmental and wildlife violations that the ordinance was created to safeguard. The Sheriffs Office is committed to collaborating with our partners to protect the environment and the safety of our community.”

At one location in the Red Dog Road area, a scientist from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife located a man-made dammed stream. Within the stream’s high-water mark, they located an endangered Foothill Yellow Legged Frog that they explained was at risk of extinction due to man-made obstacles like restricting the flow of water from the dam.