Sheriff's Monthly Messages for 2011
Message From the Sheriff, January 2011
Message From the Sheriff, February 2011
As the days start to become longer, the thought of spending more time outdoors is on a large number of Humboldt County residents. Some of us are planning springtime clean up chores at our houses, while others are making plans for outings into our great public playground we call home. Either way, we are all looking forward to some warm weather and sunshine. Your Sheriff's Office is also looking forward to these same activities, but on a different platform.
As many of you are aware, there is a growing problem around the western United States that has now become a problem here in Humboldt County. That issue I am referring to is the illegal use of public ground to grow marijuana. In the last four years, the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office has investigated and removed over five thousand illegal marijuana plants grown on public land. The cost of this endeavor is in the tens of thousands to properly eradicate these grow sites. We have had no success in apprehending those responsible for this illegal activity. We have, however spent countless hours and resources tracking down every piece of information that has been brought forward and have investigated every lead possible in these investigations. The only success I have gleaned from these investigations is that in both of the grows we eradicated in Humboldt County, no citizen or Deputy was harmed due to these grows. That is not to say that the possibility of harm was not present. In both events, there was aggressive behavior displayed by those who were contacted at the illegal grow sites by honest citizens of our great State. Also, in both events, we received a great deal of information about people and vehicles. Unfortunately, this information came after the fact and after the confrontations occurred. This really hampers opportunities to be proactive in the investigative realm. I am grateful that no citizen was harmed as a result of their encounter with these criminals. I intend to take a proactive approach to try to make our back country as safe as I can. In order to do this, I will need your help. Below, I will outline a list of things you can do to help Law Enforcement when you are enjoying our county. I will also be holding a series of community meetings throughout the county in February and March to bring awareness to this growing problem.
I have set the first two community meeting dates to start involving and educating our citizens. The first community meeting will be February 12th in Kings River at 6 pm. This meeting will be held at the Community hall. The second meeting scheduled is February 24th in Paradise at the community hall at 7pm. I have asked many other agencies to attend as well. This community outreach project is a combined effort with many agencies that all have a vested interest in keeping our public lands safe and free of harmful toxins. You see, the criminals who grow these illegal gardens use the pristine water from our streams. In doing so, they also use fertilizers and pesticides on their product. These toxins not only get into the ground, it will travel downstream to our ranches and agricultural areas. I have visually seen the impact that has been left after the grow site is vacated. The toxin issue is but one of a host of environmental concerns. Physical trash and human waste are other issues left behind for us to enjoy. I hope you will find the time to make one of these community meetings as the information will be useful. Other areas we will be holding meetings include Orovada, McDermitt, Denio and Winnemucca. The dates for these are still pending. The meetings are open to all who are interested in helping keep our county safe. There will be a lot of information disseminated and helpful tips to stay safe while enjoying the outdoors. Also, what you can do to help Law Enforcement in this arena.
I am hoping for positive results this year with active input from you, the citizens of Humboldt County. We at the Sheriff's office are here to serve you and are asking for your help to make a positive impact on a growing problem in our area. It will take all of us to make sure our lands are free from criminals and safe for us to use and enjoy.
From the Sheriff's Desk, March 2011
A long and wet winter is seeming to start to succumb to the inevitable and enjoyable days of spring. With the warmer days and longer hours of daylight, comes the remedy for cabin fever. Residents will be doing more outdoor maintenance and planting flowers and preparing their gardens. Others will be looking forward to outdoor picnics and camping trips into our beautiful county. I can tell you that I am looking forward to some camping and fishing trips with my family. The beauty of our state is second to none in my opinion. As many of us get out and go hiking, there are many things in the endless canyons that draw us to explore. The wildlife and landscape are just a few of the draws. But there is another element that is using our public land for illegal purposes and the potential harm that comes from these groups is what I wish to talk to you about.
In the last few years, Humboldt County and other counties in Nevada are being infiltrated with illegal outdoor marijuana grows. These illegal grows are putting innocent citizens in harms way, due to the fact that the people in charge of cultivating and harvesting these illegal marijuana grows are armed with firearms. They have confronted ordinary citizens with intent to do harm. Thankfully these citizens were able to get released and get to safety. Just last year, an illegal marijuana grow was discovered by a hunter and his teenage son outside of Orovada. This event was similar to the illegal marijuana grow just two years prior near the Greeley Crossing area outside of Paradise. The contact between those in charge of the illegal garden and the citizens that were hiking was not cordial by any means. The fear of harm to both parties that were confronted was real. I do not believe that those who chance to grow illegal marijuana on our public lands will stop without significant effort by all who use these beautiful lands.
After the seizure of over four thousand marijuana plants outside of Orovada last year, many residents contacted my office concerned about their safety while on public land. There were people who asked if it was safe to hunt or hike in Humboldt County. I am very concerned that the next citizen who encounters those tending an illegal marijuana grow will not be as lucky. The safety of those who reside and visit Humboldt County is a primary concern for all of us in law enforcement. Specifically, in Humboldt County, we have a large territory to cover. The county is roughly ten thousand square miles and encompasses seven towns other than the county seat of Winnemucca. There is a large amount of our county that is remote with little to no human activity for most of the year. This is appealing to those who wish to conduct illegal activity and remain undetected. Also, for such an arid state, Northern Nevada has numerous year round creeks and streams in some of these remote places. To state it plainly, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office needs your help. There are a number of places you may go that we simply do not get to unless there is a call for service there.
Since January of this year, I have spoken to several different groups and had town meetings to help us detect those people who are growing illegal marijuana. The topic is simple, but the ramifications of what is happening to the land and what could potentially happen to someone who encounters these people in and around the grow site is appalling. In our presentations, we hand out a short one page document of things you as a citizen can do to help us to locate and arrest those responsible for the destruction to public land and the perception that we cannot enjoy all parts of our county. We will be ending our presentation tour with a town hall meeting in Winnemucca on April 5th at 6:30 pm at the west hall of the Winnemucca Convention Center. Anyone who is interested is encouraged to attend. There will be pictures of the sites eradicated in Humboldt County and questions will be answered from those who have them.
I believe that with all of us working together on this influx of criminal activity, we can succeed in keeping Humboldt County a safe place to live, visit and enjoy. I look forward to seeing you there.
From The Sheriff's Desk, December 2011