Butte County is located in the Central Valley, in northern California. The county seat is Oroville, Ca. The county covers an area of approximately 1677 square miles.
The Butte County Sheriff's Air Support Unit owns and operates 1- Cessna 182 fixed wing, 1- OH6 helicopter, and 1- OH-58 helicopter. Butte County Sheriff's Department pilots are sworn deputy sheriff's.
One of the air support unit's primary missions is marijuana eradication. The following is from a news media release by the Butte Co. Sheriff's Office regarding one of their eradication missions in August of 09.
"In early July, a marijuana grow was located in Butte County near the Plumas County line during aerial reconnaissance flights. On 8/5/09 Deputies from the Marijuana Unit along with Sheriff’s deputies entered the illegal marijuana grow located on U.S. Forest Service
land. The marijuana grow was west of Highway 70 just before the first tunnel driving from Oroville to Quincy. The terrain was extremely steep and difficult to climb. While deputies cleared the garden area suspect(s) fled from them and escaped. Upon searching the camping area of the garden, deputies found two sleeping bags and .380 hollow point
ammunition. The suspect(s) had dammed up a nearby creek and siphoned water from that creek into two holding pools above the garden area. The garden was being hand watered through black pipe from those holding pools. Additional officers were brought into the garden to assist in cutting down all the marijuana plants. Part of the garden had already been harvested prior to this raid. Other marijuana plants appeared ready to be harvested with an anticipated ongoing harvest to continue for the next few weeks. Deputies cut down and removed 5,996 marijuana plants (with an estimated street value of $23,984,000) from this garden. The marijuana plants were removed from the garden with the assistance of the Butte County Sheriff’s helicopter. The marijuana was subsequently destroyed.
The public is encouraged to report suspicious activity they believe is related to illegal marijuana operations to the Butte County Sheriff’s Marijuana Unit at 538-7389. You can remain anonymous."
Source of the media release was Sgt. Steve Collins.