Information provided by CDFW:
On October 11, 2021, wildlife officers from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) served three search warrants in the First and Third Gates areas of Willits, Mendocino County. The search warrants were part of an investigation into the illegal cultivation of cannabis.
Support was provided by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, the Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force, the Cannabis Control Department, an environmental scientist from CDFW and the State Water Board.
The properties subject to the search warrant services were in the Sherwood Creek watershed, which is a tributary of Outlet Creek, which is then a direct tributary of the Eel River. The Sherwood and Outlet Creek watersheds are home to many threatened and endangered species of fish and wildlife, including the western turtle, yellow-legged frog, rainbow trout and coho salmon.
Prior to serving the search warrants, a records check was performed on the properties to determine what steps could have been taken to obtain a state license or county permit. In these cases, no state license or county permit to cultivate commercial cannabis had been issued.
Numerous environmental violations have been documented, including harmful materials located near waterways and placing trash and garbage where it can enter waterways. These types of violations compromise the habitat and resources that native fish and wildlife species need to survive.
Over 3,800 illegal cannabis plants have been eradicated and over 2,900 pounds. of illegal processed cannabis was destroyed.
Formal complaints will be filed with the Mendocino County Attorney’s Offices. No other information is available at the moment.