◼ Growing violence: Marijuana gardens are robbery targets throughout Humboldt County
A quiet McKinleyville neighborhood was jolted last Sunday night by the echo of three gunshots and the sound of breaking glass, as three suspects in an alleged home invasion robbery frantically drove away from a marijuana grow house.
Home-invasion robberies at houses with pot gardens occur with disconcerting regularity in Humboldt County, law enforcement officials say. And the potential for violence in any robbery is high. Within the past six months, at least three people have been shot during suspected grow house robberies in Humboldt County.
”I can't think of a home invasion robbery in the last two years in Humboldt County that hasn't had a drug connection to it,” said Eureka Police Chief Garr Nielsen. In every case, “it's almost exclusively marijuana.”... Excellent article, by the way.
◼ Agencies prepared for influx of 4/20 transients (4/20 isn't just Hitler's birthday, it is the High Holy Day for pot smokers)
...While all parks are closed as of midnight, the county has 45 camp sites which tend to become full of big groups during the 4/20 weekend. Mainly, people go to the campgrounds to wind down, Seemann said.
”It's usually pretty peaceful,” he said.
According to Arcata Police Chief Randy Mendosa, it may be a different story during the day. He said the event has been known in the past to be associated with violence, dog control problems, parking gridlock, alcohol violations and underage drinking. Mendosa said the event is hard to regulate and a drain on city services.
”It's not the no-harm, feel-good event that a lot of people try to portray it to be,” he said, adding that the hundreds of partakers leave an impact on the park and the playground....
◼ Happy 4/20! The True Story Behind Stoners' Favorite Number
From the grow house story above:
A run-down on grow-house robberies:
Many law enforcement officials accept that a large percentage of home-invasion robberies in residences with marijuana grows go unreported by victims who fear prosecution. However, many marijuana grow-house robberies are known to police.
The following is an incomplete list of several recent suspected home-invasion robberies in Humboldt County that involved the theft of marijuana.
1. In early April 2008, police responded to a Garberville residence where occupants reported three men broke into the house with a handgun, demanding money and marijuana, while threatening to kill the residents.
2. In late April 2008, police arrested two men on suspicion of breaking into a Eureka residence on Little Fairfield, where they allegedly assaulted the occupants of the home, before fleeing with electronics, a shotgun and marijuana.
3. In October 2008 in Garberville, police investigated an armed robbery of a residence on Timber Lane. According to reports from the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office, the suspects allegedly entered the house, pointed a shotgun at the residents, who were holding a young baby, and demanded their marijuana. According to HCSO information, the suspects had mistakenly identified the residence as a grow house, and left shortly after learning there was no marijuana inside.
4. During November 2008, police began an investigation into an alleged armed grow-house robbery in McKinleyville. During the alleged robbery, one of the suspects was allegedly shot in the back, with a shotgun, by the resident of the property. The suspect was wounded, but survived the incident.
5. On December 3, 2008, Garrett Ryan Benson was shot and killed inside his home in Cutten. Police arrested two suspects, who have since been charged for their alleged roles in his murder. According to HCSO information, Benson had a large amount of marijuana growing and processed in the residence, which is a likely motive for the murder.
6. In March 2009, Police arrested Waymond Kelly and Michael Johns for allegedly robbing a suspected grow house on D Street in Eureka, armed with a shotgun. According to Eureka Police Department information, after the resident was approached by the suspects, she reportedly took out a can of pepper spray, and both of the suspects fled the house.
7. On April 1, 2009, police in Arcata suspect that five teenagers -- Scott William Boileau, 19, Samuel Frederick Ruchte, 19, Jason Earl Stockley Dodge, 19, Thomas Jones, 19, and Brian Fox, 17 -- allegedly attempted to rob a suspected grow house on Bayside Road in Arcata.
8. An alleged robbery of a grow house on April 12, 2009, ended with one man, Mario DeAngelo Alexander, 24, shot two times. Two other suspects remain at large. Police believe they were attempting to rob a suspected marijuana grow house on Harden Drive in McKinleyville.