Siskiyou County agencies bag 19,000+ illegal marijuana plants in May and June

Dozens of allegedly illegal marijuana plants sit under tarps in the Mt. Shasta Vista area of Siskiyou County. (Courtesy: Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office)

Since May, Siskiyou Interagency Marijuana Investigation Team (SIMIT) seized 19,088 illegal marijuana plants across the county.

Last Friday, June 21st, SIMIT took 4,824 illegal marijuana plants from 11 Mt. Shasta Vista properties after serving search warrants there. The searches also yielded 454 lbs of processed marijuana. SIMIT estimates the plants, assuming they would reach full maturity and produce three pounds of cannabis each, would be worth between $28.9 million to $43.4 million on the "illegal drug market" and worth approximately $2,000 to $3,000 retail. The processed marijuana was estimated to be worth $908,000 to $1.3 million.

Siskiyou County officials have enacted an ordinance that prohibits all outdoor marijuana cultivation in county areas and growers are limited to 12-plants inside an approved structure, for medical marijuana, according to Lopey. Recreational marijuana, Pursuant to Prop 64, is limited to 6 marijuana plants, which may be grown in a residence or other enclosed structure.

The Friday before, June 14th, SIMIT seized 2,818 illegal plants in the same Mt. Shasta Vista area. SIMIT exercised search warrants in the areas of Pilar Road, Pheasant Road, Tiger Train and Zane Gray Drive. SIMIT seized 139 pounds of processed marijuana in the nine search warrants. SIMIT arrested two people during the operation for resisting arrest, illegal cultivation and processing and possession of marijuana for sale. SIMIT also confiscated nine generators and two water pumps that were allegedly used in the illegal marijuana operation.

SIMIT estimates the plants would be worth $16.9 to $25.3 million. The processed marijuana was estimated to be worth $278,000 to $417,000 along the Atlantic Coast of the United States. According to Sheriff Jon Lopey, the illicit marijuana cultivation sites have endangered watersheds, wildlife and "contributed to chronic quality of life and fire hazard-related challenges in several county communities."

"Siskiyou County is a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) as designated by the United States Department of Justice, and HIDTA reports much of our illicit marijuana is being illegal transported to other states throughout the nation," Lopey said.

Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office worked with Soldiers from the California Army National Guard’s (CARNG) elite Counter-Drug Unit assisted with the operation, according to Lopey, on both operations in the past 10 days.

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