A California Game Warden shot and killed an armed man in self-defense during a raid on an illegal marijuana-grow operation.
A multi-agency task force was conducting an early morning raid on a pot farm located in Stones Lake National Wildlife Refuge near Sacramento. Law enforcement officers were approaching the grow site from several angles when one of the groups of officers confronted a lone, armed suspect.
Officers ordered the man to put down his firearm and he refused. The suspect then pointed his handgun at a California Department of Fish and Wildlife Game Warden, and the warden opened fire. First aid was rendered immediately, and a helicopter ambulance was dispatched to the scene. The suspect died of gunshot wounds.
Marijuana cultivation on public lands in California is an ongoing problem. Armed growers pose a threat to the general public, and grow sites often do significant damage to the environment. Illegal water diversions, destruction of habitat, and the use of pesticides and rodenticides cause harm to wildlife.
Fertilizers are used extensively at grow sites. These fertilizers run off into nearby water sources and harm aquatic species. Trees are cut down to make room for pot plants. For every acre used to grow marijuana, ten acres of habitat are destroyed. Poaching of deer and bear have been documented at grow sites. Human fecal waste and trash piles damage the environment.
A study conducted in 2013 determined that rodenticide used at illegal grow sites in the Sierra National Forest was killing fishers. The report documented that female fisher survival rates were linked to the number of cultivation sites located in the area.