While specific connections between Tuesday’s shooting of two Yuba County sheriff’s deputies and death of a suspect are still unknown, documents show that the property involved in the incident has been cited for marijuana cultivation.
Yuba County sheriff’s spokesperson Leslie Carbah confirmed that the initial call came from 9019 Marysville Road in Oregon House. According to the Yuba County Assessor’s Office, that parcel is owned by Jevaughn and Shana Bennett.
According to a Public Nuisance Hearing document addressed to the Yuba County Board of Supervisors on Oct. 18, 2016, Jevaughn Bennett – who has a Bronx, N.Y., mailing address – was cited in July 2016 for the cultivation of 249 marijuana plants.
Code Enforcement Manager Jeremy Strang said Tuesday that the department is “familiar with the occupants” of the property.
In September 2016, Code Enforcement served a citation for the cultivation of 137 marijuana plants.
The code enforcement officer assigned to the case issued a Notice and Order to Abate Public Nuisance for the cultivation of marijuana, the illegal occupancy of a recreational vehicle and a substandard mobile home, the illicit discharge of sewage, and the accumulation of junk, trash, and debris.
The second Notice and Order to Abate Public Nuisance cited that marijuana was being cultivated without being registered; the number of plants (137) exceeded the maximum amount allowed; and the cultivation was not within a qualifying accessory structure.
According to the document, the sheriff’s department did not seize the plants, but ordered their removal by a certain date. The document also states that the property had accrued enforcement costs and penalties of $419,581.02 from July through October.
A Facebook request for comment to Bennett went unreturned Tuesday evening.
Though Carbah said the initial caller claimed that the suspect was a member of a Rastafarian church housed in the area, Carbah said this was an initial call for information only and has not been confirmed.
On Facebook, the ONA Sugarleaf Rastafarian Church – based in Sacramento – posted about the shooting:
“Pray for Yuba Trees Church. There is a man with a gun on the property desecrating the sacred herb as I type,” the post reads. “Let’s hope Yuba County Sheriff’s Department does their job today and help protect our church and its members from this #madman.”
The post was shared by Heidi Lepp, who on Facebook is listed as the founder, CEO, and owner of Sugarleaf. A voicemail and Facebook request for comment went unreturned by Tuesday evening.