Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Drug Enforcement Unit began to investigate the legality of the marijuana grow site on the parcels owned by Brett Visser after receiving several complaints. The complaints surrounded illegal marijuana activities occurring on the properties located in the Mosquito Creek drainage off of US Forest Service Route 1. After conducting surveillance, several potential environmental violations were determined to be associated with the large commercial cannabis site which had not yet been issued a Commercial Cannabis permit. After the Commercial Cannabis Application and surveillance information was reviewed, HCSO DEU had reason to believe that Brett Visser was using the Humboldt County Commercial Cannabis Permit process as a cover for trafficking marijuana and that several felony environmental violations were being committed. Evidence located at the scene supports those facts.
On Wednesday 06/28/2017, the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office's Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) and the Humboldt County Drug Task Force (DTF) served three search warrants to investigate an allegation of illegal cultivation of marijuana and possession for sales of marijuana. The search warrants were served in the area of Visser Court in Mckinleyville and in the area of the Mosquito Creek drainage off of US Forest Service Route 1.
The following agencies assisted DEU and DTF in this investigation: Wardens from California Fish and Wildlife, Biologist from California Fish and Wildlife, CAL Fire Law enforcement officers, Investigators from the District Attorney's Office, specialist from the Humboldt County Environmental Health and HAZMAT Unit, Humboldt County Code Enforcement officers, and personnel from the California Army National Guard Counter Drug Unit.
Drug Task Force served a search warrant on a residential structure on Visser Court. During the course of the investigation, DTF agents arrested Brett Visser (age 58) and Anne Clarke (age 32) for illegal cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sales, maintaining a structure for distribution/sales, and possession of prescription drugs for sales. The following items of evidence were located and seized:
367 pounds of processed marijuana that was packaged in individual vacuum sealed one pound bags, 6 firearms, 255 Xanax pills and $80,000 in cash.
The investigation on Visser Court led to another parcel near the residence that was under the control of Brett Visser. An additional search warrant was obtained and served on this property. Two structures that were converted into indoor marijuana grow rooms were located on this property. The two indoor marijuana grows were not permitted by Humboldt County Building and Planning Division. 700 growing marijuana plants were located and seized from this property.
The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office's Drug Enforcement Unit responded to two adjacent parcels in the area of the Mosquito Creek drainage that were owned by Brett Visser. DEU located a total of 35 greenhouses containing growing marijuana and 6 indoor marijuana grows on these parcels. A total of 21,389 marijuana plants were eradicated from the properties and 391 pounds of processed marijuana was seized. Several subjects fled upon law enforcements arrival. Two Hispanic subjects were detained and questioned. Both subjects were released after being interviewed. A Commercial Cannabis Permit Application was filed by Brett Visser for these parcels; however, the permit was in a suspension status due to required information being overdue.
California Fish and Wildlife conducted a parallel investigation on these two parcels and discovered 6 separate Stream Bed Alterations, 3 potential water pollution sites due to the location of stored diesel fuel, and 1 Trash in Stream hazard due to the potential of sediment washing into nearby streams. Fish and Wildlife Wardens also found evidence of poaching.
Humboldt County Environmental Health and HAZMAT conducted a parallel investigation and discovered the following violations: Failure to Establish Hazardous Material Business Plan, Failure to Establish Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plan, Failure to Report Threaten Release of Hazardous Material, and Improper Management of Hazardous Material. 13,000 gallons of diesel fuel and two large diesel generators were located on the two parcels.
CAL Fire officers conducted a parallel investigation and discovered the following violations:
Operating without a timber operation license, harvesting timber without a harvest plan, and operating without a timber conversion permit.
Humboldt County Code Enforcement officers conducted a parallel investigation and discovered the following violations: Grading without a permit, Construction without a permit, stream side management area violations, solid waste disposal violations, using an RV as a residence, marijuana cultivation ordinance violations.
All criminal violations stemming from the marijuana cultivation investigation will be forwarded to the District Attorney's office for review. The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office maintains a cooperative relationship with all agencies that participated in this investigation. All future investigations into non-compliant marijuana operations will continue to be investigated in this manner.