Driver of a rental truck carrying illegal marijuana leads Siskiyou County deputy on pursuit in Dorris. Driver is seriously injured after trying to jump out of the truck while it was moving. Additional suspect who appears to have been an escort tried to run deputy off the road.
On Thursday, September 12, 2019, two deputies from the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) made three separate traffic stops in the Dorris area, which resulted in the seizure of illicit drugs and one firearm. One enforcement action resulted in a short pursuit, a possible attempted assault with a deadly weapon with a vehicle against a deputy, and injuries to one driver who attempted to flee by jumping from a moving rental truck in motion.
On September 12 at about 12:30 a.m., a deputy with SCSO attempted to stop a moving type-truck on Mathews Road near Durham Road (Dorris area) after he observed lighting violations on the vehicle. Another vehicle was traveling ahead of the rental truck and two vehicles were traveling behind the truck. Another vehicle was also traveling in the vicinity of the four other vehicles. The deputy attempted to initiate an enforcement stop on the rental-type moving truck and he attempted to pass two vehicles traveling behind the truck. As the deputy passed a Dodge pick-up truck with New Jersey license plates, the pick-up veered into the deputy’s lane of travel. This action appeared to be a deliberate attempt to divert the deputy from the enforcement action against the rental-type truck, and the action of the pick-up driver may have been a deliberate attempt to run the deputy’s vehicle off the road to protect the illegal drug load. The rental truck then ran through a stop sign without stopping at Mathews and Picard Road. After getting behind the rental truck with all emergency lights and siren activated, the driver of the vehicle accelerated to a speed in excess of 65 MPH in an apparent attempt to flee the scene.
After about one-mile, the rental truck slowed to about 25 to 30 MPH when the deputy observed the driver’s door open on the rental vehicle. A male adult driver attempted to jump from the moving vehicle but appeared to get tangled with the truck’s seat belt and fell towards the ground. The rental truck veered north off the roadway into a nearby field. While the truck was still in motion, it ran over the errant driver and he was dragged about 10 feet.
After the mishap with the driver and rental truck, the three other vehicles previously observed traveling in close proximity to the rental-type truck by the deputy stopped about 200 yards behind the scene and blocked both lanes of traffic. The deputy secured the rental truck and checked the injured driver while the other vehicles remained stopped for two to three minutes. Due to the obvious deputy safety concerns about the vehicles stopped in vicinity of the deputy’s location, and based on the attempt of the driver of the rental truck to flee, the deputy took a position of cover and waited for assistance while armed with his patrol rifle. Shortly thereafter, the suspicious vehicles and drivers fled the scene.
After arrival of California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) first responders, a check of the cargo area of the rental type-truck revealed a large quantity of illegal marijuana. The driver of the rental truck sustained serious injuries and he was treated by CAL FIRE firefighters, Butte Valley Ambulance crew members, and Dorris Fire Department firefighters and emergency medical services personnel. The suspect was transported to a local hospital for treatment.
Due to the serious nature of his injuries, the injured suspect was later airlifted to another hospital for further treatment. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) responded to assist and later took the lead on handling the traffic mishap involving the rental truck and driver. United States Forest Service (USFS) Ranger units also assisted SCSO at the scene of the incident, along with a SCSO sergeant and an additional SCSO deputy.
It is anticipated a criminal complaint will be filed through the Siskiyou County District Attorney against the rental truck driver for possession of marijuana for sale, transportation of marijuana for sale, and evading arrest charges. The suspect in the case is 47 years-old and has a residence address in Union City, California. After the illicit marijuana plants were counted and weighed by SCSO, it was determined the rental-type truck was carrying 50 mature marijuana plants that were cut and ready for processing. The illegal marijuana weighed 1,150 pounds.
An investigation is being conducted to identify and locate the other vehicle operators, which SCSO investigators believe were attempting to interfere with the deputy’s enforcement stop of the truck laden with a large cache of illegal marijuana. It is believed at least two of the suspect drivers reside in the local Dorris area. Criminal charges may be filed against those suspects but the investigation is still underway.
In a separate incident on the same day, September 12, 2019 at about 8:00 p.m., later in the day, another SCSO deputy initiated an enforcement stop on a vehicle in the Dorris area. This enforcement stop resulted in the recovery of a loaded .38 caliber revolver and 107.8 pounds of illegal marijuana.
At about the same time, the same deputy involved in the early-morning enforcement stop the same day, recovered 211.4 pounds of processed marijuana contained in 12-bags when he stopped two females in the Dorris area in another vehicle as well. The suspects in both of the enforcement stops were cited and released and will face multiple charges.
The number of vehicles leaving the Dorris area’s Pleasant Valley Highlands area laden with large quantities of illicit marijuana may be related to a series of counter-drug operations
conducted this week by the North State Major Investigation Team (NSMIT), a regional, California Department of Justice (CA DOJ) team that includes a SCSO Detective Sergeant and members from other federal, state, and local agencies, including the CHP, Bureau of Land Management, California Army National Guard, and part-time support from the USFS and other local agencies. A series of counter-drug operations conducted in the Dorris Pleasant Valley Highland, Long Gulch and Gazelle-Callahan areas on September 9, 10, 11, and 12th, resulted in the seizure of 5,955 illegal marijuana plants, 894 pounds of processed marijuana, and the operations resulted in the arrest and booking of four suspects, the detention and identification of 11 additional persons, and two firearms were seized.
According to Sheriff Jon Lopey, “This was a very productive week for SCSO deputies, counter-drug agents, and our federal, state, and local partners. The enforcement stops were conducted by deputies under potentially dangerous circumstances but both of them did their jobs and did it well, especially in view of the apparent direct intervention of co-conspirators in an effort to divert or deliberately obstruct the first deputy from detecting the large, illicit drug load in the rental truck. NSMIT operations were also highly-productive and all seizures of illegal drugs, firearms, and the arrest or identification of drug trafficking suspects again illustrates the magnitude of the illegal marijuana drug trade in Siskiyou County and region. These incidents are still under investigation and anyone with information about these cases or other illegal drug activities is urged to contact the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office 24-hour Dispatch Center at (530) 841-2900.”