For Immediate Release: October 5, 2016, 1:40 p.m.
Contact: Tim Snellings, 530.538.7601
A warrant to abate (cut down and remove) marijuana plants being grown in violation of Butte County’s local cultivation ordinance, commonly called “Measure A”, was executed yesterday on Bangor Park Road in Oroville by the Butte County Code Enforcement Division and the Butte County Sheriff’s Office Special Enforcement Unit. Investigators with the Butte County District Attorney’s Office also assisted SEU with conducting a search warrant on the same property.
The operation resulted in seizure of 491 marijuana plants (3,220 pounds) with a street value of more than $750,000. The search warrant turned up a fully-automatic AK-47 assault rifle and 3 individuals from Los Angeles and Riverside County were arrested for possession of a machinegun, possession of an assault weapon, and possession of a firearm with the serial number removed or altered. The property had 2 RVs, 3 manufactured homes, and several tents, which were all unpermitted. Inside the units were areas being used to process marijuana and sleeping quarters with personal belongings.
The marijuana being grown on the property appeared to be in compliance with Proposition 215 under a contract with a collective in southern California. However, an administrative hearing officer determined no marijuana could be cultivated because there is no legal residence on the property. As a result of the hearing officer’s decision, the property owner was given 10 days to bring the property into compliance, and when he failed to do so, the County obtained an abatement warrant and abated the nuisance.
Butte County’s local cultivation ordinance generally allows up to 150 square feet of medical marijuana to be grown by patients or caregivers as long as land use requirements are met that address public health and safety. Cultivation sites in violation of local restrictions can be considered a public nuisance and the County can seek an order for the nuisance to be abated, as was the case for the property on Bangor Park Road. “We often see multiple issues with large cultivation sites like this one,” say Tim Snellings, Development Services Director. “We see unsafe, unsanitary living conditions for workers, criminal activity, and damage to the environment.” Butte County encourages residents cultivating medical marijuana to Stay in the Box.