SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – State Sen. Ted Gaines (R-Granite Bay) has asked Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency in Siskiyou County over concerns about illegal marijuana grows in his district.
“We’ve got a real problem,” Gaines said. “It’s getting worse, especially in the last two years. It’s just way out of hand.”
In August, Gaines got a bird’s eye view of Siskiyou County during a helicopter ride with the county sheriff. And he says the view just south of the Oregon border was astounding.
“I saw over 100 illegal marijuana grows from the air,” he said. “Not just a couple of plants, we’re talking about close to 100 plants in each grow.”
Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office says dozens of illegal marijuana grows are packed into the rural county, and the growers are stealing water from farmers and using illegal pesticides on their marijuana plants.
“They all have a little above ground swimming pool where they illegally get the water, and they dump it into the pool for their irrigation,” Gaines told CBS 13.
But with just four sheriff’s deputies covering 6,000 miles of land, Gaines said the county is in desperate need of assistance.
“If we have a good year, we can eradicate 10 percent of the crop,” he said.
In a letter, Gaines asked Brown to declare a state of emergency in Siskiyou County:
“All laws regarding legal marijuana cultivation are being ignored by individual criminals, crime syndicates and drug cartels, who are treating the public and private lands of Siskiyou County as their own illicit greenhouse, harming citizens, law enforcement personnel, and the agricultural community.”
His wants Brown to send both the California National Guard and Fish and Wildlife north – to help the sheriff’s department stop the heavy water pollution and stamp out illegal grows in his district.
“It’s a real problem,” Gaines said. “We need to get a handle on it. I’m worried about the environmental impact; I’m worried about my constituents.”
Gaines told CBS 13 the sheriff was offered $1 million by one grower to look the other way when it comes to illegal grows in the area. That person now faces bribery charges.