Strange Case Out of California's Emerald Triangle

Here.
Interesting. A gang of young men tried to raid a marijuana garden in the Emerald Triangle of California last year. They were met by other young men defending their crop. Some of the raiders were taken prisoner. The raiders attacked with sticks and chunks of concrete to try to free their prisoners. All prisoners escaped but one, who was badly beaten with sticks and was in a coma. Police arrived, took the beaten man to the hospital where he soon came out of his coma.
The people who assaulted him were not arrested! The police decided that the many marijuana plants were “in violation of local ordinances” and confiscated them. None of the growers were arrested!
Wow. Only in California, eh?
The comments below are interesting. The Triangle is experiencing its worst spell of ripoffs since 1979. Thefts go down all the time, and everyone is paranoid. Much of the growing is sadly now being done by Organized Crime gangs. Reading between the lines, the Organized Crime growing in the region appears to be Nuestra Familia (locally Nortenos) and La Eme (The Mexican Mafia or Surenos). Nuestra Familia and the Mexican Mafia are the real hardcores, and the Surenos and Nortenos are mostly just the local sets on the streets. Sort of like the Mafia and little local Italian street gangs loosely associated with them.
Apparently most of the grows are being done by Nuestra Familia, since this is Northern California after all. Grows are as large as 100,000 plants. These large grows are widely resented as sucking streams dry, mix fertilizer in the bottoms of wells and bury their trash in holes in the ground.
It looks like cops only get a very small amount of the crop.
A friend of mine used to grow up there in the mid 1980’s, around 1984-1985. He worked construction about 1/2 the year and made a bundle back when unionized White construction workers could make excellent money. The other half of the year he was up in the Triangle growing marijuana. There were three guys in on the grow, and I think they made $150,000 between them, or $50,000 apiece. Pretty nice for 6 months work. He did it for a few years and never got caught.
He would bring it back down to Orange County and sell it. Even back then, this was very strong pot – skunk, sinsemilla, whatever you want to call it. It went for ~$2000-2400 a pound and the price per ounce was pretty high too. I have no idea how that compares to prices nowadays.
He said that the main problems were deer and spider mites.
Spider mites are tiny insects that infest the undersides of the leaves of marijuana and other plants. I’ve seen them before.
The deer are mostly a problem in the fall when most of the vegetation has dried up but of course the pot plants are still very green, so the deer just hone right in on them.
He said busts were a worry also around harvest time for the same reason. Everything is brown and dry but the pot, which is still bright green and can be spotted from the air by helicopters.
He said that you can’t really walk around out there. He said “everyone is growing,” it’s all private property, fenced in various ways, and no one dares trespass on anyone else’s property. If you do, as soon as you are on anyone’s property for 5-10 minutes, people will be right there onto you asking you what you are doing.
Back then, people regularly got short prison terms up there for growing pot, but in recent years, I understand that law enforcement is having a hard time finding juries willing to convict. In up 80% of cases, juries simply hang or refuse to convict. I suspect there is some jury nullification going on.
I have been in and around this region exploring extensively once. I went to Cloverdale, Ukiah and Dos Rios. I fished in the Russian River and Eel River. I caught a Steelie looking trout in the Russian River and another trout in the Eel. While fishing the Eel, a water snake took off across the river right next to where I was fishing – an Aquatic Garter Snake. There was a large bird making a huge racket across the river the whole time I was there. I finally figured out that I was fishing across the river from an Osprey’s nest and the bird was trying to tell me to get away from its nest.
I was there in the Spring, and there was water everywhere. It’s basically a gigantic forest and there is a stream or rivulet pouring down off the slope every few hundred yards or so, with many much larger streams and even rivers, mostly unnamed, pouring down at less frequent intervals. It’s a mountain forest that’s basically leaking water like a full sponge. There are hippie looking mountain man characters roaming around all over the place. If you ever get a chance, you might want to go check this area out.

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