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News: 10/01/2020

Illegal cannabis grow pulled from Sugarloaf

Photo courtesy of California State Parks

On Sept. 2, California State Parks law enforcement uncovered an illegal cannabis grow in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park.

627 plants and 660 pounds of trash were removed, according California State Parks assistant chief of law enforcement Jeremy Stinson. Arrested at the site were Bernardino Sanchez Martinez, 27, of Santa Rosa, and Maurillo Aguilar Torres, 28, of Santa Rosa. The two were arrested for illegal cannabis cultivation, carrying a loaded firearm in public, unlawful water diversion, and polluting a state waterway.

The grow was spotted by a California National Guard helicopter. The National Guard frequently partners with parks law enforcement in flying over state park areas where illegal grows have been seen before.

“At the Sonoma Ecology Center (SEC) and Team Sugarloaf, we are very pleased with the new state park resources being allocated to illegal grow identification and remediation,” said Sugarloaf park manager John Roney. Sugarloaf is operated by the Glen Ellen-based SEC.

“The illegal pot grows harm the plant life through removal, pesticides, and allowing invasive plants to move into the cleared areas; animal life through poisoning or trapping; and aquatic life through run-off or poisons getting into streams,” said Roney. “Despite marijuana being legal in California, illegal pot grows are still a problem as it is the easiest way to get large amounts of marijuana to export.”

In early September and in June, state law enforcement pulled over 4,400 cannabis plants from illegal grows at Robert Louis Stevenson State Park in Calistoga. Over 2,700 pounds of trash and plant material were removed.

Arrested at the site in June was Jose Arturo Doval Martinez, 25, of Santa Rosa. The sites were discovered after a tip from a nearby property owner.

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