Lewis Avenue Grow House Yields 232 Pounds – March 14, 2012

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Eye Staff Report

GREENVIEW – Officers from the Arcata Police Department served a search warrant at a residence at 1002 Lewis Avenue on Wednesday morning.

Upon entering the residence, officers located a marijuana growing operation utilizing nearly all the livable space in the home. The operation was in the harvest stage and nearly 250 about 220 pounds of marijuana in various stages of processing along with 12 pounds of processed marijuana bud were seized. A small amount of concentrated cannabis, or “hash” was also located in the home.

Eban Ashton Rollins, 28, of Arcata, was arrested and booked into the Humboldt County Jail on the following charges:

•11358 Health & Safety (H&S) – Cultivation of Marijuana

APD Officer Brian Hoffman removes two of 27 grow lights from the house at 1002 Lewis Avenue. Note the energy-saving CFL-bulb porch light. KLH | Eye

• 11359 H&S – Possession of Marijuana for Sale

•11366.5 H&S – Manufacturing of a Controlled Substance

• 11357(a) H&S – Possession of Concentrated Cannabis

City of Arcata building inspectors discovered numerous building code violations at the residence which necessitated the immediate disconnection of electrical service.

APD Det. Sgt. Todd Dokweiler said all but one bedroom of the house was dedicated to cannabis cultivation and processing. Two bedrooms and the garage were used for growing, with the living room a trimming center.

APD Officer Chris Wilson is covered in cannabis resin from pulled-down pot plants as he carries lighting hoods out to APD's evidence trailer. KLH | Eye

An officer on scene said the grow house was the largest ever taken down by APD. Dokweiler said the second floor was entirely consumed with cannabis production.

No growing cannabis was found, only harvested plants hung up to dry. “It was just at that phase in the cycle,” Dokweiler said.

Public records list the  house’s owners as Kerry R.Perkett and J. Bonnitta of Eureka.

Some 27 grow lights and ballasts were confiscated for evidence. Dokweiler said that the house consumed 14,000 kilowatts of electricity per month – nearly 30 times the average residential household usage.

The expense of the high energy usage was offset by the occupant’s enrollment in PG&E’s California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program, which provides a discount on utility bills for low-income customers. Cannabis growers are often eligible for the program because their income is not reported.

Dokweiler said it was apparent to neighbors that the residence was being used as a grow house because of the aggressive cultivation inside. “The house was really oozing moisture,” Dokweiler said. “It was pretty obvious.”

Passing neighbors applauded the enforcement action. “I wondered how there could be so many skunks in the neighborhood,” joked one man from a nearby house. Another woman in a passing car ostentatiously applauded the sight of all the APD vehicles surrounding the corner house.

Dokweiler said more grow house raids are in the offing. “It rolls on,” he said.

If you suspect illegal drug activity in your neighborhood, please contact the Arcata Police Department at (707) 822-2428.

UPDATE: Det. Sgt. Dokweiler says that two Prop 215 recommendations were located in the Lewis Avenue house, but neither was in the name of anyone living there. Further, Dokweiler said, once police determine that a cannabis grow operation is for manufacturing and sales, the 215s become a non-issue.

Note: An earlier version of this story misstated the amount of cannabis seized. The headline has been updated to reflect the correct amount. – Ed.




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35 Responses to “Lewis Avenue Grow House Yields 232 Pounds – March 14, 2012”

  1. Grandma Alice

    Thank you APD! Keep it up. Do you have a ‘Narc Phone” where residents could anonymously tell APD where grow houses are growing (out of fear for their lives).

  2. Anyone can contact APD at (707) 822-2428 and offer confidential information about illegal activity in their neighborhood. Ask for Detective Todd Dokweiler.

  3. Ian Ray

    The average household uses 888 kilowatt hours / month. 14000 / 888 is 15.8… where does 230 come from?

  4. From an errant digit pressing two computer keys. Also, Dokweiler said the average household usage is 500 kw/hrs, so the calculation is based on that figure.

  5. Foo

    over 8 grams per watt. Wonder what the setup looked like?

  6. Interestingly, PGE just adjusted their rates and added tiers to the CARE program. But the top tier still is a lower rate than the rest of us pay for baseline usage. Since they are obviously capable of adjusting the plan couldn’t they just stop subsidizing after double or triple or even 10x baseline? Just askin’ http://www.pge.com/en/myhome/customerservice/financialassistance/care/index.page

  7. Jahburger

    Keep in mind this 220lbs they talk about is the WET weight, so the actual number of dry processed lbs is probably just a fraction. Additionally, while I know CARE abuse by growers is big news in humboldt county, in the larger scheme of PGE’s business, growers taking advantage CARE represent an extremely small number of customers. I agree with the previous poster that after a certain percentage of baseline usage PGE should just stop subsidizing CARE users. Damn though, 27 lights IN TOWN is pretty ballsy… or maybe just stupid.

  8. Tonto Bubba Goldstein

    So PG&E subsidizes the dope growers while the working stiffs get stiffed. Nice to know.

  9. Yes, it is true. The rest of the ratepayers end up paying half the electricity bill for the growers who are ruining their neighborhoods.

  10. citizen arcata

    The article never clearly stated why the police had a warrent. I live on Lewis and don’t understand what they mean by “oozing with moisture “. It seems like smell or sound would be a good reason but never noticed any condensation or steam coming out of the house. It looked normal from outside.

  11. joe dalley

    How does the newspaper get info on whose name is on the PGE bill and if they are enrolled in government programs? Is that information not confidential?

  12. Not any more.

  13. Kim

    It reeked of growing, if you aren’t used to it you can smell it all the way down the street. Since the majority of people use pot, they are used to the odor and can’t smell it.

  14. Right. The neighbor said it smelled like skunks all the time. That, the sweaty walls and the insane energy consumption were kind of a tip-off.

  15. Ian Ray

    I have difficulty being upset about the PG&E/CARE issue when electricity customers in neighboring states pay 25% of what post-Enron Californians pay. While PG&E is responsible for the lion’s share of our high rates, California does mandate PG&E set its tiered rates to the same levels as ten years ago.

  16. Just to be clear, you’re OK with a program designed for low-income individuals being used to subsidize drug manufacturers who turn residential homes into factories, just because their illegal income isn’t reported?

  17. Ian Ray

    Kevin, no, nothing like what you said. I have trouble being upset about a fraction of people exploiting a discount rate in a system that already overcharges everybody including those genuinely receiving the discounted rate.

  18. And that undefined “fraction” is the people I mentioned, who are manufacturing drugs on an industrial scale in residential neighborhoods, committing fraud to gain a subsidy.

  19. Ian Ray

    Kevin, my thoughts on the CARE issue are separate from the grow house issue.

    Specifically regarding electric rates:

    (Ashland’s electric rates – $0.06-$0.07/kWh)

    (PG&E rates – $0.09 – $0.12/kWh CARE, $0.13-$0.34/kWh non-CARE)

    It is hard for me to be too upset about neighborhood industrial agriculture’s particular abuse of a program “designed for low-income people” when deserving low-income people pay double what regular customers in nearby regions pay. I am not saying that I think committing fraud is okay, just that it seems like a minor issue to press considering the fleecing of all energy customers in the context of Enron/PG&E/California.

  20. Can you be more specific? You aren’t “too upset” about it.

    Emotions aside, does that mean you approve of this practice or disapprove of it? Or somewhere in between?

    This sounds like a modified version of the Tu Quoque Logical Fallacy: PG&E rates are unfair, therefore rate fraud is excusable.


  21. Ian Ray

    Kevin, I don’t condone fraud. Thanks for illuminating the illogical nature of such an argument.

    I think that if our electric rates made any economic sense that there would be no incentive for fraud. I also don’t understand what a low-income household is supposed to be doing with 14,000 kWh in the first place, but that is another issue.

  22. GODPOD

    LOL ADVIL AND MCDONALDS KILL MORE PEOPLE THAN MARIJUANA!!! ITS NOT A DRUG!!!! get your facts straight you ignorant mind-controlled robots. “grandma alice” at the top should be more fearful of the sketchy cops in this town not the peaceful people growing PLANTS INSIDE. Once old people die and move on, the world will be a great place :) STOP THE WAR ON DRUGS.

    ps. IF PG&E wanted to stop the fraud, we all know they could.
    (they probably still make profits off people on care – considering how high the standard rates are in this area.)

  23. Are you sure cannabis isn’t a drug? If that’s true it’s pretty big news.

  24. GODPOD

    It’s a plant that has grown naturally before the word “drug” even existed.

  25. What is THC?

  26. GODPOD

    a combination of molecules that we call a chemical. That happens to be very similar to many chemicals inside of your brain and body. We can call Cannabis a drug – but it’s still less detrimental to society and nature than fast food, television, prescription pills and alcohol. You can keep fighting against marijuana – but the truth is – It has never claimed a single life and it never will.

  27. Who is fighting against marijuana?

  28. Kevin, as a well versed editor could you possibly add in the factoid that Arcata police, as well as many other departments, purposefully distort confiscated weight amounts by using “wet” totals. Otherwise editorials like these show to endorse sensationalism, something a possibly large base of your customers are not big fans of. We know you know better.

    With your last comment there, something many might call a “straw man”, there is likely not a single substance on this planet that has not been somehow associated with homicide. Water included. LD50 was what GODPOD was seemingly referring to. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Median_lethal_dose

  29. Is it distortion if that is the actual weight of the plants confiscated? Should they dry it and then weigh it? Or run tests to determine its hydration and then calculate the dry weight?

    It sounds to me like that would be the distortion. Why not just report the weight of the material that they carry out to the cannabis caboose?

    Also, GODPOD (and others) said flat out that cannabis has never claimed a single life. In a way he’s right in that as far as I know, the substance itself has never been lethal. But there has been substantial violence including death associated with the commercial side of it.

    Right here in Arcata we’ve had a shooting, an incident of torture, home invasion robberies, explosions, fires and so on. And THAT, among other reasons, is why people in neighborhoods report grow houses.

    GODPOD makes the lazy intellectual mistake of conflating opposition to grow houses with opposition to cannabis itself. These are two very different things.

  30. arcatalie

    kevpod, keep doin’ what you do. but you will always be a small town reporter that lies and will never cover a real story. some of us think you are the one who is walking around calling in houses. cuz you live a sorry life and need to sell papers, and it’s funny that you ALWAYS are the 1st one to be at these houses when the cops are there.

  31. I don’t dispute that I lead a sorry life and need to sell papers.

    I do dispute that I don’t cover real stories, as any glance at the newspaper and website will easily attest. But maybe I don’t know what you consider a real story. Perhaps you could elaborate.

    I suppose it serves your narrative that I’m responsible for all the grow house busts, because of course my all-knowing omniscience encompasses the entire town and the contents of all the residences.

    But the fact is, people hate the grow houses. They wreck neighborhoods and those who aren’t in “the business” are in constant contact with police about these stinky hellholes.

    Not always, but frequently am I at the grow house busts and other crime scenes.

    That’s usually because I got a tip or tips (thank you, citizens). Just for grins, would you like to see the e-mailed tip that notified me of the Lewis Avenue incident Tuesday morning (with the name redacted of course)?

  32. Joe humboldt

    First of all for all of your indoor growers who are putting down Kevin works shut your bitter little mouths stop smoking your chemical land indoor weed and think about something besides your own quest for cash and being numb to the effect you have on the world via your poisonous indoor weed. I am ashamed to be a grower when I hear people that grow indoor weed call it medicine in the first place….anything that consumes so much power from a dirty power grid that poisons the air and water CANNoT be called MEDICINE. If you want to call your marijuana medicine put therm in the sun.

    Second of all Kevin is probably first on the cops press list because of his local affiliations and his work to rid this County of all of you crime causing “gardeners”. If you want to solve a real problem stop growIng Indoor weed and being a numbskull advertising To the whole city through you careless lack of odor control and half-ass grow system. Because there are so many irresponsible indoor “gardeners” aka amateurs here we have recently …in case your too baked on your og kush to realize…a rise in crime in our areas. As long as you let all the thieves know you are growing because of your sloppy grow-ops then we are going to have robberies and the cops are going to have to clean up the mess. And there are other people with rights and their level of safety to protect in our communities. So go back to Indiana and Wisconsin and grow indoor there. Because of all of you there is probably less heat from the police there then there is here now.

  33. Realtor man

    I would first like to thank your local police and citizens for making life all the more enjoyable.
    There’s been times where I thought this industry would be fading away. But with the latest round of arrests and the county commission coming down on everyone, the horizon is so much brighter.
    With that fact remember not everyone has the where with all or the time to maintain a garden.
    Now this is where it gets bloody simple. 
    A trip to any club or collective in the bay will show you the current prices of meds and edibles. They haven’t dropped..
    At all. An ounce of Mazar for $390?
    How much is a lb at that price?
    Get it? Growers you are being economically squeezed out. Why travel to humboldt when we can procure our medicine right in the bay?
    I am not a grower nor am I a seller. 
    I’m a patient with income. A very good income.
    When medical becomes a thing of the past what will take its place there?
    Real estate. Indifferent people, big houses and big money and big money doesn’t eat at humbrews.
    Give it 5 years.
    Like Santa Rosa and every town along the stretch you will be broken into pieces consumed and then fondly remembered.
    Cannabis is not your counties problem. The inability to reinvent yourself is.
    So get with the program keep the raids up keep the growers in their place.
    Poppa’s got a brand new bag. REAL ESTATE and I’m looking right at you.

  34. […] had also told supervisors that PG&E inadvertently enables the power glut by enrolling growers in the CARE program. He had suggested that PG&E establish a cap on the amount of power […]


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