Federal marijuana raids in Smartsville and throughout Yuba County last week were the result of two five-month investigations headed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, according to a search warrant affidavit filed in federal court in Sacramento.
Andreas Jewers, 47, Juan Jose Domingo, 47, and Elizabeth E. Stefani, 43, all of Oregon House, were arrested and booked into Yuba County Jail on suspicion of conspiracy and cultivation of marijuana for sale, DEA spokeswoman Casey Rettig said.
All three posted $100,000 bail bonds and were released a short time later, authorities said. They are set for arraignment Oct. 23 in Yuba County Superior Court.
Attempts to reach them by phone were unsuccessful.
They were not named in the affidavit. Cultivators frequently list fictitious names on property paperwork to help avoid detection, according to the affidavit.
One of the investigations started in April when Yuba County sheriff’s Deputy Mark Heath met with DEA officials to discuss multiple properties in the foothills believed to be growing marijuana commercially for the last several years, according to the search warrant.
Aerial surveillance of properties, conducted several times between April and August, confirmed the location and size of multiple marijuana gardens, records state.
Agents used a California Highway Patrol helicopter to take aerial photographs of the grow sites. Ground surveillance was not possible because of each site’s remote location, according to the affidavit.
At least eight properties were searched in Oregon House and Smartsville on Thursday on Loretta Lane, Begonia Way, Wildflower Way and Leafwood Way. Agents said between 50 and more than 100 plants were seen at each location over several months, according to the affidavit.
Several other area properties were also raided Thursday, but details on those investigations were not available.
It was not clear how many warrants were served or if anybody was else was taken into custody.
Sheriff’s departments from Yuba, Nevada, and Butte counties assisted the DEA, along with NET-5 task force agents, US Homeland Security, and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigators, Rettig said.
Agents said they hoped to find other evidence indicating a sales conspiracy, but have been mum about what was actually found during Thursday’s raids.
Rob Parsons is a reporter with the Marysville Appeal-Democrat.