Agencies come together to bust illegal marijuana grows in Siskiyou County

Skye Kinkade
Illegal marijuana grows inside a greenhouse in Siskiyou County.

The seizure of more than 18,000 illegal cannabis plants from Siskiyou County grows late last month brings the total to more than 60,000 confiscated plants so far in 2020, said Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey.

The counter-drug raids were conducted with help from a long list of federal, state and local agencies.

Lopey called the week of July 27 “highly productive” and “monumental. The team “hit some of the county’s most significant marijuana drug trafficking areas for five consecutive days, which is nearly impossible to do without such massive support.”

He said there were days when there were 60 or 70 law enforcement officers helping the county eradicate large-scale cultivation sites in greenhouses at sites including Blue Pond and Indian Creek Road in Scott Valley; Martin Drive in Mt. Shasta Vista; McDonald Drive in Big Springs; and numerous sites off of Stock Trail in the vicinity of County Road A-12.

During the raids, 24 arrests were made and two firearms were seized, as well as more than $65,000 in suspected drug money.

The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office and its partner agencies have now seized 60,190 illicit marijuana plants and 4,938 pounds of processed marijuana product this year in Siskiyou County.

“The total number of illegal marijuana plants, while only in the mid-season, has nearly exceeded last year’s total seizure count,” said Lopey, who estimates the value of such product at $180 million on the East Coast illicit wholesale drug market, or $541 million on the illicit retail market.

Lopey pointed out that such large amounts of marijuana “far exceeds any legitimate recreation or medicinal usage exemption.” The marijuana is instead processed and packaged for transport out of the area.

SCSO has received important assistance and support from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which has provided most of the funding for the department’s counter-drug operations through DCESP (Domestic Cannabis Eradication Support Program), Lopey explained. “This support means critical and limited county resources are appreciably reduced and entitles more law enforcement personnel to participate.”

Agencies that assisted in the raids include:

• Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office

• Siskiyou Interagency Marijuana Investigation Team (SIMIT)

• North State Major Investigation Team (NSMIT)

• California Department of Justice’s Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP)

• U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency

• California Army National Guard - Counter Drug Unit

• California Department of Fish and Wildlife

• United States Forest Service

• California Department of Justice

• California Highway Patrol

• Trinity County Sheriff’s Office

• U.S. Bureau of Land Management

• Siskiyou County Planning Department - Code Enforcement

• SCSO field and jail deputies

• Siskiyou County District Attorney’s Office

• The California Department of Justice


• Etna Police Department

Anyone with information about illegal marijuana cultivation operations in their county neighborhoods should contact the SCSO’s 24-hour Dispatch Center at (530) 841-2900.

Complaints concerning “quality of life” issues such as building, water, sewage, or refuse should be directed to the Siskiyou County Community Development office at (530) 841-2100.