Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Major sting targets commercial grow op

Article Launched: 06/24/2008 10:08:38 AM PDT

More than 400 federal and state agents executed search warrants in Southern
Humboldt and Arcata today, part of an investigation into what the FBI
described as a major commercial marijuana operation.

About eight FBI agents serving a search warrant at a house on Virginia Way
just outside Arcata this morning were looking through apparent grow lights,
tubing, boxes and bags. They refused to talk to the media.

Several warrants were also served in Southern Humboldt, including on
Briceland Thorne Road. A checkpoint staffed with assault-rifle toting agents
was reportedly set up at Alderpoint and Harris roads. Convoys of agency
vehicles poured through several communities in Southern Humboldt.

The agencies were staging out of the River Lodge in Fortuna.

FBI spokesman Joseph Schadler said that agents with the FBI and the state
were collecting evidence through 27 federal and two state warrants as part
of a two-year investigation into a major marijuana cultivation and
distribution operation.

"We're looking at a single group of folks," Schadler said.

Schadler said that the operation is not targeting at medical marijuana

Warrants were being served on both indoor and outdoor growing operations,
Schadler said, and the outdoor operations totaled some 2,000 acres. The U.S.
Postal Service and Internal Revenue Service were also participating. Law
enforcement does not plan to file charges against anyone at this stage, he
said. Agents will continue to search the properties for hours or even days,
he said.

Asked if agents had encountered resistance from the targets of the
investigation, Schadler said he believed "everything went off without a

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