Major Dos Rios pot bust
A multi-agency task force led by the County of Mendocino Marijuana Eradication Team raided a major indoor pot grow at a Dos Rios ranch in the mountainous area above the confluence of Outlet Creek and the Eel River just after dawn on February 13. Six men and one woman were arrested, three children are in the custody of Child Protective Services, and agents seized 100 pounds of processed marijuana, $20,000 in cash, two pistols and seven rifles, and eradicated 5,275 pot plants from seedlings to mature plants in full bud during the raid.
The raid involved law enforcement officers from COMMET, Sonoma County Marijuana Eradication Team, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and the California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement Redding Task Force. The raid resulted from an ongoing investigation, according to police.
As officers arrived at the property suspects were spotted fleeing the scene. One group fled on foot and another was seen traveling down a rough dirt trail toward the Eel River in a Jeep.
The helicopter supporting the raid spotted the Jeep abandoned near the river and helped officers locate two suspects Kite Isaac Finds the Feather and Amanda Lee Wood and three children ages 6, 5 and 2.
According to deputies, Finds the Feather and Wood had fled the residence in the Jeep with the children riding unrestrained in the back of the vehicle along the primitive track, through downed trees and over rough terrain.
"It was fortunate this case did not turn into a tragedy and the suspects were found with the children safe. The way they fled placed the children in danger had the suspect lost control of the Jeep on the road," says sheriff's Lt. Kurt Smallcomb.
The children were given warm clothing before being transported by helicopter to CPS. When found, the children were dressed lightly in short sleeved shirts despite the cold temperatures, say police,
When the suspects were taken into custody, Finds the Feather attempted to hide a loaded handgun at the scene, say police.
Finds the Feather and Cook were arrested on suspicion of cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale, child endangerment and being armed in the commission of a felony and are being held on $500,000 bail.
Finds the Feather is one of the founders of Mendo Maté, according to a Mendo Maté marketing spokesman. The spokesman refused to comment on Finds the Feather's current role, if any, with Mendo Maté unless he had a lawyer present.
Two main buildings at the ranch were used for growing plants, say police. One served as a starter room and processing building and the other as the main grow area. About 271 grow lights were found powered by generators. Two generators, a 400 and a 350 kilowatt unit, powered the operation. The diesel supply for the generators was stored in a plastic water tank and at least 25 gallons of waste oil was found at the scene. Mendocino County Environmental Health inspectors are reviewing the site for contamination caused by the operation.
"It was one of the most extensive grows I've seen," says Lt. Rusty Noe.
One man was spotted by deputies walking on Highway 162 near the bust following the raid. Romero Juan Agudo was questioned by police and advised there were seven men working and living at the site. Agudo, 24, was arrested on suspicion of cultivation of marijuana for sale.
Evidence found during the raid then led deputies to Antonio Alfonso Agudo, 21, whose wallet was found on the scene, and to the arrest of Agudo; Lucha Lorenzana, 21; Aristeo Hernandez Hernandez, 49; and Nacario Lopez-Cruz, 42, on suspicion of cultivation of marijuana for sale.
All five are believed by law enforcement to be Mexican nationals and are now in Mendocino County jail on immigration holds with no-bail status.
By Linda Williams/TWN Staff Writer (The Willits News) http://www.willitsnews.com
Article Launched: 02/20/2008 11:00:05 AM PST