Argument Leads Deputies To Huge Blue Lake Grow, $100K Cash, Environmental Damage – August 24, 2012
HCSO Press Release
BLUE LAKE – On Thursday, Aug. 23 at approximately 9 a.m. employees of a logging company working on Lord Ellis Summit heard what appeared to be someone calling for help and a woman crying. The employees went to the area of the noise and contacted a male who admitted to being in argument with his wife. The employees were concerned for the well being of the female, called the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and informed them what they heard and what the male told them.
The Sheriff’s Office dispatched two deputies to the scene to check on the welfare of the female. When the deputies arrived at the residence where the argument had been coming from they saw signs of a commercial marijuana growing operation. Deputies made contact with the male and female who resided at the residence. They admitted they had a verbal argument. The deputies secured the residence for a search warrant after seeing and smelling greenhouses filled with growing marijuana. Additional deputies were called into the assist, along with members of the Humboldt County Drug Task Force.
While waiting for the search warrant, the wife told the deputies she was having medical issues. Emergency Medical personnel were summoned to the scene and she was transported to a local hospital where she was treated and released.
A Humboldt County Superior Court Search Warrant was issued for the residence, located in the 4900 block of Wiregrass Road, Blue Lake at approximately 3 p.m. After the search warrant was issued, a search of the residences and greenhouses was conducted. Deputies and Task Force Agents located and seized 763 growing marijuana plants ranging in height from five to six feet tall and four large garbage bags full of dried marijuana.
Inside the residence deputies located over $100,000 in cash stashed in various locations throughout the residence, along with packaging material and other evidence indicating the marijuana was being grown for sale.
While following trails around the property deputies located another large greenhouse approximately one-quarter mile away from the residence in a drainage. That greenhouse was filled with another 529 growing marijuana plants averaging three feet in height. Those plants were also seized. Deputies are still trying to determine if this greenhouse is tied to the initial residence or is on another parcel.
The installation of this greenhouse caused environmental damage by cutting trees and into the hillside. The California Department of Fish and Game is being called in to investigate.
Timothy Matthew Pratts, 39, was arrested on charges of cultivation and possession for sale of marijuana. He was transported and booked to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where his bail is set at $75,000. A warrant for his wife is being sought through the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office, requesting the same charges.
Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call (707) 445-7251 or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at (707)268-2539. Humboldt County Drug Task Force can be reached at (707)444-8095. If you live in the city limits of Eureka the Eureka Police Problem Oriented Policing Unit can be reached at (707)441-4373.