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Released by: District Attorney
For Immediate Release

Environmental Violations Results in $245,000 Civil Judgment for Cannabis Cultivation

Santa Rosa, CA  –  April 3, 2019  –  District Attorney Jill Ravitch announced that defendants Black Mountain Developers LLC, Darryl Crawford, Cold Creek Group Inc., and Clint Gerber have resolved a civil environmental enforcement action with the Environmental and Consumer Law Division of the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office for streambed alteration, water diversion and unpermitted construction during cannabis cultivation on Geysers Road in Sonoma County.

District Attorney Ravitch stated, “Water pollution and diversion from streams for financial gain is unacceptable in the cannabis industry or elsewhere and will be prosecuted.”

The civil enforcement action was filed against the project manager (Clint Gerber), the property owner (Black Mountain Developers LLC), and Darryl Crawford, who is the President of Cold Creek Group, following reports of unpermitted water diversion and construction activities on Geysers Road in Geyserville. The Sonoma County District Attorney, together with the Department of Fish and Wildlife and Permit Sonoma investigated the activity. Cannabis was being grown by Crawford and his employees, who were also diverting water and grading over streams. The unpermitted construction on private property located on Geysers Road in Geyserville in July of 2016 was discovered during historic drought conditions. A lack of best management practices on site caused sediment, which is a pollutant that is harmful to fish, to flow off the property into the surrounding streams which drain into Little Sulphur Creek.

As a result of the civil enforcement action filed by the District Attorney’s Office, Darryl Crawford and his associated companies, Black Mountain Developers LLC and Cold Creek Group Inc., implemented best management practices to prevent the pollution. Darryl Crawford also obtained lake and streambed alteration agreement with the Department of Fish and Wildlife for restoration of the creeks on the site as well as the appropriate permits from the Permit Resource Management Department.

The terms of the civil judgment require that Darryl Crawford and related business entities implement the lake and streambed alteration agreement and complete grading work, as well as pay costs and civil penalties in the amount of $245,000.

The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Ann Gallagher White, assisted by District Attorney Investigators Lisa Chapman (retired) and Mark Azzouni. Senior Environmental Scientist Tim Dodson and Warden James Reed, both from the Department of Fish and Wildlife, assisted with the investigation along with Permit Resource Management Department’s Dan Cahill (retired) and Engineer Yoash Tilles.

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Contact Information

Joan Croft
Media Coordinator
Office of the District Attorney
County of Sonoma
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Room 212 J
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
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