Northern California

Authorities arrest 18, including Rastafarian church leader, during pot raids

By the end of Tuesday, 18 people were arrested, about $21,000 in cash and eight firearms were seized, and approximately 1,500 marijuana plants were eradicated from 12 illegal grow sites in the Yuba County foothills and Sacramento County.

The raids included the location near Oregon House where two sheriff’s deputies were shot in early August.

All 12 sites are believed to have “common ties,” but details regarding their links were not provided, as the investigation is ongoing, according to Leslie Carbah, spokesperson for the Yuba County Sheriff’s Office.

Heidi and Charles Lepp, who run the Sugarleaf Rastafarian Church, stand in the backyard of their Sacramento, Calif., home on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Kathleen Ronayne)

Heidi Lepp, 46, of Sacramento was the most notable arrest in Tuesday’s operation. Lepp, who runs a Rastafarian church in Oregon House, where the officer-involved shooting occurred Aug. 2, was arrested in Sacramento on suspicion of conspiracy, cultivating more than six marijuana plants and possessing marijuana for sale.

She was booked into the Sacramento County Jail on Tuesday and was ineligible for bail due to a ‘public protection’ hold.

The sheriff’s office spearheaded the effort, serving the search warrants Tuesday, but had help from the Yuba City Police Department, the Yuba-Sutter NET-5 Task Force, Butte County, Nevada County, Colusa County, the Sacramento High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), California Fish and Wildlife and the California State Water Board, Carbah said.

The locations where search warrants were served were: the 9000 block of Marysville Road in Oregon House; the 10400 block of Township Road in Browns Valley; the 15000 block of Winther Way in Dobbins; the 15000 block of Burch Lane in Brownsville; the 6000 block of Potts Trail in Browns Valley; the 6000 block of Dantoni Road in Marysville; the 12000 block of Regent Way in Oregon House; the 9000 block of Mason Way in Dobbins; the 13000 block of Rice’s Crossing Way in Oregon House; the 3000 block of Jewett Road in Marysville; the 2000 block of H Street in Sacramento; and on 30th Street in Sacramento.

The law enforcement operation began around 7 a.m., and clearing of the sites continued throughout the rest of the day.

“Law enforcement teams will remain in the areas above while the scenes are processed and any illegal marijuana located is eradicated and destroyed. Once the sites are processed, we will provide an updated press release to include any arrests made and the quantities of illegal marijuana located at each site,” Carbah said.


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