Published on January 6, 2019 by David Wylie
Murder and marijuana
In the majestic redwood forests of Humboldt County there’s a sinister shadow.
The Northern California community is known for producing 60-80 percent of America’s weed. It also has a striking amount of missing person and murder cases.
The county is the backdrop for the Netflix true-crime documentary, Murder Mountain, which premiered over the holidays. The docuseries focuses on the case of Garret Rodriguez, a 29-year-old who was lured by the chance to make fast cash as a cannabis grower. He was found murdered in the region in 2013.
It sheds a harsh light on the illicit drug industry and shows one aspect of why legalization is important.
‘Get the F- out’
The series shows an overwhelmed police force unable to deal with the modern Wild West, where 15,000 illegal grow operations are crammed within their 4,000 miles of jurisdiction.
It’s quite literally a cutthroat business.
Advice from one man who worked in the local pot industry: “Get the fuck out as soon as humanly possible.”
The silver lining is that legalization is expected to provide some semblance of safety for workers. This is good news and Humboldt County now has Canadian ties.
At least two companies based in Canada have come knocking at Humboldt County’s door, showing interest in the region’s cannabis. Vancouver-based Chemistree and Toronto’s CordovaCann are investing in the area.
The local sheriff’s office called the series “highly sensationalized” and responded to the documentary in a sweeping statement posted to Facebook.
Police said the original plotline pitched to police for their participation was “to examine the changes in the county as a result of marijuana legalization, highlight the challenges of law enforcement in rural jurisdictions, and present a historic comparison of the county’s green rush and timber rushes.”
However, the focus switched to the ongoing homicide investigation of Rodriguez, something police weren’t prepared to talk about in depth.
“To those of you who have seen this series, please understand that you heard one side of a highly sensationalized story,” said police.
“As all things in Hollywood, please know that ‘Murder Mountain’ is a Hollywood manufactured drama based on a true story. It was designed to be sold to Netflix for a profit.”
What is clear is that Rodriguez is the tip of the bloody iceberg.
Canadian also died there
Those missing and/or dead aren’t always tied to crime.
One of the missing posters shown in the doc is for Quebec’s Félix Desautels-Poirier.
The 25-year-old was last seen alive partying with friends on Nov. 6, 2017, at the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary. The man’s father found the body 14 days later, partially submerged in a marsh.
Foul play is not suspected.
Desautels-Poirier was in the area to see a concert.
On social media
I’ve said this a million times before but after watching murder mountain I say it with fiercer conviction, I don’t know how I survived Humboldt county. I am truly surprised I didn’t die. I made horrible decisions. Truly pitiful, stupid, dangerous decisions.
— 🌘 𝖉𝖔𝖜𝖓𝖙𝖔𝖒𝖆𝖗𝖟𝖌𝖎𝖗𝖑 🌒 (@alexbhannah) January 6, 2019
Watched the first couple episodes of #murdermountain on @netflix I’ve got mixed emotions as a former resident of #humboldtcounty #humboldt is a complex & amazing place. You can never understand it unless you’ve lived there, and I’m afraid this will give the wrong impression…
— Matt Daks (@skadttam) December 30, 2018
Watching Murder Mountain. I grew up around weed my whole life in Seattle so I’ve heard about Humboldt county story for years.
— Remember Nia Wilson (@AuzreeH) December 30, 2018
This Murder Mountain documentary on Netflix should be called Meth Mountain, fairly obvious most growers in the doc are on meth, which explains all the murders up there; people on weed tend to hug you, it's the people on meth that will kill you.
— jchak (@JCHAKnv) January 4, 2019
Obviously everyone is talking either Bird Box or Bandersnatch, but @netflix’s ‘Murder Mountain’ is flying way too far under the radar. Might well be a last gasp winner for 2018’s best True Crime documentary series. #Netflix
— James Hearnes (@jams_thoms) December 30, 2018
"This is not the hippie marijuana industry anymore."Welcome to Murder Mountain, a secretive and surreal corner of America with a deadly history. Watch the series premiere tonight at 10PM ET/PT: https://fusion.tv/tv-channel-lineup/
Posted by Fusion TV on Sunday, September 23, 2018