Local State of Emergency declared for illegal marijuana grows


SISKIYOU, Calif. - A local State of Emergency has been declared in Siskiyou County for illegal marijuana grows.

Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey went to the board of supervisors last week, asking for an emergency proclamation for illegal marijuana grows.

"I feel that was a compelling and catastrophic public health and safety and environmental menace," Lopey said

Lopey said their main concern is the illegal grows private properties, which have skyrocketed in the last two years.

"These number of grows have exceeded local capabilities to properly mitigate because we estimate about 2,000 illicit marijuana cultivation sites on private property," Lopey said.

The declaration was passed unanimously by the board of supervisors.

State Senator Ted Gaines recently rode along with Lopey in a flyover to see the areas and has since asked Governor Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency as well.

"The main purpose was for me as sheriff to go to the state and ask that the state allocate additional resources. Those could be state or they could be federal resources to help us mitigate this overwhelming problem," Lopey said.

Lopey said his team has served more than 80 search warrants so far this year related to grows.

He added it's a drain on local resources, responding to hundreds of complaints from citizens about the grows.

"We're becoming hubs of a multi-billion dollar illicit drug trafficking organization or syndicates that are distributing illicit drugs in virtually almost every state," Lopey said.

Lopey said because they are a high-intensity drug trafficking area, he's also asking for funding and federal resources.

Currently, Lopey said he's working with the regional law enforcement coordinator for mutual aid. Lopey said other sheriffs are considering a similar emergency proclamation.

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