#minorsextrafficking | Marijuana Raid in Covelo Yesterday Found 17-Year-Old Girl, a Possible Victim of Human Trafficking, Said MCSO – Redheaded Blackbelt

A greenhouse at one of the locations the MCSO visited yesterday. [All photos from the MCSO Facebook page]

A multi-agency raid on two locations side by side on the 77200 block of Crawford Road in Covelo, California took place on Wednesday, June 24. According to Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall, deputies found a 17-year-old Spanish-speaking female who claimed to be from Salinas, California but who may have been the victim of human trafficking. He said deputies confiscated a shotgun, an AR-15, and eradicated 15,148 plants across two sites.
According to the MCSO’s press release, “[E]ight individuals were found on-site and detained.” The press release also described one person fleeing the scene who was later located by a helicopter crew and also “three more were detained after a high-risk felony stop off-site.”

Sheriff Kendall reported the 17-year-old female denied being human trafficked, but Sheriff Kendall expressed believing otherwise. He explained, “[S]he obviously wasn’t from Covelo. She didn’t know anyone from Covelo.” He said, “I absolutely believe she was human trafficked” and expressed concern that “there are many things a child cannot consent to.” He stated, “[I]t is dangerous for any child to be in an armed encampment, and the fact that this was a juvenile female causes even greater concern.”

The press release detailed that “the juvenile was transferred to the care of the Mendocino County Child Protective Services Agency for her own safety. An investigation has opened to determine whether the juvenile onsite was a victim of sex and/or labor trafficking.”

Sheriff Kendall said the marijuana farms were targeted by law enforcement because of their lack of permits and reports of environmental violations.

Sheriff Kendall confirmed pictures of helicopters sent into Redheaded Blackbelt were assisting in eradication efforts. He said the helicopters were being used to both haul plant material and insert personnel into strategic positions.

MCSO collaborated with the “Major Crimes Task Force, County Of Mendocino Marijuana Eradication Team, the Mendocino County Probation Office, the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency and California National Guard Counter-Drug Task Force personnel assigned to High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA)” when serving the two search warrants.

Here is the press release from the Mendocino County Sheriff Office’s Facebook page:

On June 24, 2020, The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Major Crimes Task Force, County Of Mendocino Marijuana Eradication Team, the Mendocino County Probation Office, the Federal Drug Enforcment Agency and California National Guard Counter-Drug Task Force personnel assigned to High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), served two search warrants at two location side by side on the 77200 block of Crawford Road in Covelo, CA.

At the conclusion of the search, a total of 15,148 plants were discovered and eradicated, 2 firearms which include one AR15 assault rifle. Eight individuals were found on-site and detained, including a 17-year-old female juvenile from Salinas. One person fled the scene but was located by the helicopter crew and three more were detained after a high-risk felony stop off-site.

Because the juvenile was located on the property without any legal guardian, didn’t know anyone else on the property, had no friends or family living close by, and didn’t speak English, the juvenile was transferred to the care of the Mendocino County Child Protective Services Agency for her own safety. An investigation has opened to determine whether the juvenile onsite was a victim of sex and/or labor trafficking.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office says, “We’ll be issuing a more detailed statement in the coming days.”Covelo marijuana greenhouse MCSOCovelo marijuana trash MCSOCovelo marijuana greenhouse MCSO

UPDATE: National Guard and DEA Joins Mendocino Sheriff and Other Agencies in Raid on Covelo Marijuana Grow
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