Three-Home, Two-Town Cannabis Factory Complex Taken Out

Thursday, August 29, 2013
Joseph Gorini

Joseph Gorini

APD Press Release/Eye Staff Report

SPEAR AVENUE – Officers from the Arcata Police Department served a search warrant at a residence at 3300 Spear Avenue on Wednesday morning.

There, police say they located a marijuana growing operation that was utilizing two bedrooms as marijuana growing rooms and a third bedroom as a processing room.  The marijuana cultivation operation appeared to have been recently harvested. Officers seized 35 growing marijuana plants, approximately 10 pounds of processed marijuana bud,  and 15 pounds of dried marijuana in various stages of processing.

The growing operation that was being conducted inside the home consisted of 10 1,000-watt grow lights and was utilizing nearly 12 times the electricity of a typical Arcata family home. Records indicated the residents were currently enrolled in the PG&E CARE program for low income families.
Valerei Knudtson

Valerei Knudtson

APD Det. Sgt. Todd Dokweiler said the dining room of the three-bedroom home had been made into a sort of bedroom, with the bedrooms all used for growing cannabis.

Prop 215 medical cannabis recomendations were posted inside the home, Dokweiler said, but they are irrelevant to commercial cannabis operations of this scale.

“They really feel that offers them some level of protection,” Dokweiler said. “But we all know what Prop 215 is, and that’s outside the letter and the spirit of the law.”

During the search of the home officers learned the residents were currently renting two additional apartments in the 2000 block of Groth Court in Eureka.
With assistance from the Humboldt County Drug Task Force, officers served two additional search warrants at those residences. The two apartments, one a two-bedroom unit and the second a three-bedroom unit, appeared to be used for the sole purpose of cultivating marijuana. Two hundred growing marijuana plants and 21 additional grow lights were seized from those residences.
Joseph Gorini, 37, and Valerei Knudtson, 35, both of Arcata, were arrested and booked into the Humboldt County Jail on the following charges:
•  11358 Health & Safety (H&S)- Cultivation of Marijuana
• 11359 H&S- Possession of Marijuana for Sale
City of Arcata building inspectors discovered numerous building code violations at the residence which necessitated the immediate disconnection of electrical service.

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