Arcata Police Assist With McKinleyville Pot Bust – March 29, 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Eye Staff Report

McKINLEYVILLE – For years the Humboldt County Drug Task Force (DTF) took the lead on drug house raids in Arcata, with the Arcata Police Department assisting. Now APD is returning the favor.

Jesse Cooke Henning

On Wednesday, March 28 at about 9 a.m., the DTF, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office  (HCSO) and APD served a search warrant at a residence located in the 900 block of Vista Drive, McKinleyville. When officers arrived on scene they located Jesse Cooke Henning, 34, and Autumn Christina Mize, 32, in the residence along with their four-and-a-half-year-old daughter and one-and-a-half-year-old son.

Officers located a sophisticated, commercial indoor marijuana growing operation inside a room which been constructed in the garage for the indoor marijuana growing operation. Officers seized 65 growing marijuana plants from this room that ranged in size from 3’ to 4’ in height. Officers noticed a possible fire hazard with the electrical wiring from the indoor marijuana growing operation, and contacted Humboldt County Building and Planning Department, whose personnel responded to the scene. Inspectors contacted PG&E to remove the electrical service to the residence, because of a possible fire hazard from the indoor marijuana growing operation.

Autumn Christina Mize

Officers located about a pound of processed marijuana in the residence and $1,500 in cash. During the interview with Jesse Henning he told Officers that he was on the PG&E CARE program, a program for low-income utility customers in which the electrical bill is reduced. Jesse Henning was arrested on a charge of possession of marijuana for sales and was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility.

Autumn Mize was arrested at the scene and released with a court date so she could care for her two small children. CWS was contacted and responded to the residence to evaluate the living conditions for the two children.

APD Chief Tom Chapman said Arcata officers assisted because the leads originated in Arcata. “There was an Arcata connection,” Chapman said. “We developed information out of another investigation, that there was another related grow in McKinleyville.”

Chapman wouldn’t say whether the Arcata link stemmed from a recent grow house raid or some other investigation. “It may or may not have been related to an enforcement action,” he said. “It was a separate investigation.”

APD, he said, was ready to act on any information found at the scene which might “circle back to where the [original] information had come from.”

Arcata Police also helped with entry to the residence. Though only the parents and children were present in this case, police have to be ready for any eventuality, with all exits covered. Pre-enforcement research is done to attempt to ascertain how many people are in the house, their criminal history and any propensity for violence, but, said Chapman, “You never really know.”

“What we prepare for is a worst-case scenario – gunfire and significant resistance,” Chapman said. “You try to make sure everyone’s safe – officers, suspects and innocent people. That initial entry is very dangerous. We do everything we can to minimize that danger.”

The case is still under investigation.