Police and thieves scare Humboldt County

Posted on February 10th, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

CaliforniaFear is growing in Northern California's cannabis hub of Humboldt County over a wave of busts and home break-ins. The Sheriff's Office is searching for four unidentified male suspects after a report of a home invasion robbery in Salmon Creek Feb. 9. Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to the residence before 6 AM after a 911 call from the residence reporting that four men with ski-masks and shotguns had forced entry, tied up the caller and his wife, and made off with 30 pounds of cannabis and more than $3,000. Held for about an hour as the assailants searched the premises, the caller managed to free himself after they fled. (Eureka Times-Standard, Feb. 9)

That same week, Humboldt Sheriff's Deputies arrested three men during a two-day stakeout of the Humboldt Sanitation company in McKinleyville, after complaints from management that people were entering the facility and removing recyclables, discarded cannabis trimmings and other items after business hours. The three were arrested on trespassing, petty theft, and possession of cannabis, methamphetamine, hypodermic syringes and a other charges. (Times-Standard, Feb. 9)

In a move that raised eyebrows among local residents, last month the accused head of a cannabis cultivation operation near Bridgeville was sentenced to serve 1,000 hours of community service and forfeit almost $40,000 in cash under the terms of a plea agreement. Thomas William Morgan, a naturalized US citizen from Bulgaria also known as Taco Nikolov Budnakov, was arrested Oct. 19 and charged with cultivation and possession of cannabis for sales after the Sheriff's Office reported finding 190 pounds of dried cannabis, more than 60 pounds of processed buds, a handgun and the cash at his Bridgeville property. Morgan pleaded guilty to a felony charge of maintaining a residence for the purpose of marijuana cultivation in exchange for not doing any prison time. In a statement, Humboldt District Attorney Paul Gallegos defended the deal: "The way I look at it is people who broke the law but are not dangerous shouldn't be sitting in jail at county expense, they should be out in the street doing work. There's plenty of need and plenty of work to do."  (Times-Standard, Jan. 14)

But many are outraged that Budnakov's four trimmers—three Bulgarians and a Ukrainian—spent almost two months in jail before they were allowed to plead "no contest" to misdemeanor charges of being an accessory to a crime, receiving time served (54 days). Five others—from Bulgaria, Ukraine, Germany and Thailand—are awaiting deals. Budnakov himself was released on $75,000 bail, and only served two days. (Times-Standard, Dec. 13)

While looking to arrest the landowners associated with a massive outdoor growing operation busted in October near Mad River, police on Dec. 20 uncovered an entire McKinleyville apartment complex rigged for growing cannabis. The October bust lead to the seizure of almost 2,000 live plants, more than 1,500 pounds of harvested cannabis, and over 40 arrests—all but one trimmers. The one exception, Meghan Moody, was released on bail and has not been formally charged. Executing search warrants on the owners of the Mad River property led to discovery of the mega-scale indoor grow op in McKinleyville. No actual growing plants were found at the  McKinleyville, indicating the grow op was not yet functioning. (Times-Standard, Dec. 20)





Humboldt grower indicted for murder

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 A federal grand jury in San Francisco on March 2 indicted Mikal Xylon Wilde of Humboldt county with murder during narcotics offense, as well as conspiracy to manufacture and distribute 1,000 or more marijuana plants, use of a firearm during a drug trafficking offense, and other charges. Wilde is accused in the killing of Mario Roberto Juarez-Madrid, originally from Guatemala, who was working at the grow operation at the time of the murder in August 2010. (FBI press release, March 2)

Comment by Global Ganja Report on Mar 28th, 2012 at 7:32 pm

Exploitation of Emerald Triangle 'trimmigrants'

Global Ganja Report's picture An authoritative report by the Center for Investigative Reporting into northern California's pot-growing area has uncovered dozens of accounts of sexual abuse and exploitation of workers known as "trimmigrants," or migrant bud trimmers. (HT)
Comment by Global Ganja Report on Sep 21st, 2016 at 11:57 pm

Slavery at California grow op claimed

Global Ganja Report's picture Local media are reporting that two men hired as day laborers were held against their will and forced to work in a remote marijuana-growing site in Calaveras County. The situation came to light when the two escaped in July after five months of captivity, which included being beaten and physically restrained. (SacBee, Sept. 21)
Comment by Global Ganja Report on Oct 7th, 2016 at 12:10 am

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