A scenic stretch of northern California wilderness is where 60 percent of marijuana is grown in the United States, and its known as “Murder Mountain.” Experts tell Inside Edition that it is not the climate or the soil that draws farmers to the area but the isolation.
Humboldt County also has the highest rate of missing persons cases in the state, which is how it has become ground zero for danger and known as “Murder Mountain.” In the area, cell phone service quickly goes out, as Inside Edition discovered on a recent trip.
Cops say “Murder Mountain” is filled with illegal pot growers living off the grid, with thousands of illegal farms all around the area. Some farmers arm themselves against unwelcome visitors, as depicted in the documentary “Murder Mountain” streaming on Netflix.
One grower says it's like the Wild West.
“I’ve been kidnapped, kicked down a flight of stairs, hunted ruthlessly through town,” the grower said in the documentary.
Inside Edition came across marijuana growers willing to talk as long as they were not named.
One of the growers said the area can be dangerous “if you are not local.” The grower says she has known “multiple people” who have been murdered, a question another grower did not want to answer.
As Inside Edition explored the area, cameras filmed a burned-out camper. At the vehicle, a woman drove up and said her brother was murdered there, claiming authorities were no help at all. She wouldn’t go on camera because she has four kids and is worried about their safety.
Garrett Rodriguez, a surfer from San Diego, was working on a marijuana farm highlighted in “Murder Mountain.” He went missing in 2013, and his body was later found in a shallow grave.
His dad, Buzz, spoke to Inside Edition, and said: “I told him stay as far away from that as he possibly can.”
The sheriff's department says the Nextflix documentary unfairly portrays authorities as not doing enough to solve Garrett's case and others.
“The deputies work very hard every day to solve these kind of cases but we really hit a rock wall in some of these areas that are so secluded,” retired Sheriff Mike Downey told Inside Edition. “They won’t talk to you. They don't want you there."
In 2018, 370 adults and 310 children were reported missing in Humboldt County, according to the California attorney general.