Murder Mountain: The Underbelly Of America’s Cannabis Industry
An Expose On Murders And Disappearances In The Emerald Triangle
Netflix takes a trip to Humboldt County for their latest true crime documentary, Murder Mountain. The show is an eye opener: it provides a terrifying look into the hidden world of the Emerald Triangle.
The Emerald Triangle, also known as the Napa Valley of cannabis, is made up of three counties in California: Humboldt, Trinity, and Mendocino. Together, they make up around 10,000 square miles of cannabis plantations; it’s the largest cannabis producing area of the country.
But unlike Napa Valley, there’s nothing special about the growing conditions in the Emerald Triangle. Not the soil, not the climate. Yet so many young people go to Humboldt County in search of quick riches by working in marijuana farms, thinking that it’s some far-off utopia filled with good vibes, where you can smoke weed all day and still earn some serious dough.
The High Price Of Your Cheap Weed
Americans all over have good reason to be happy. Cannabis legalization is more widespread than ever. The price of weed is getting cheaper, too.
But at what cost?
Netflix headed out to Murder Mountain, an area of Alderpoint in Humboldt County, to investigate the story of Garret Rodriguez. Murder Mountain is aptly named: it’s a hotbed of disappearances and murders; particularly notorious for the Carson serial killer couple who confessed to dismembering and killing one of their coworkers in a cannabis farm back in the 80s.
Garret, a 29 year old San Diego native, is one of the 700 people in every 100,000 who go missing in this area each year. In fact, Humboldt County has the highest per-capita missing person rate in all of California, which sees around 380 missing person cases yearly. Garret, who was convinced he would benefit from the current Green Rush by working in cannabis plantations, went missing a year after arriving in Humboldt. The show talks to Garret’s father, the police, several locals, legal and illegal farmers alike, and Chris Cook, a private investigator in charge of Garret’s case.
As the locals of Humboldt County confirm, the area was once a hippie paradise since the 60s, where people could isolate themselves from the rest of the world and live off the land while growing cannabis. The area is so remote, with lands covered in such thick forest that getting lost is easy. This makes disappearances and murders easy, too, as well as running illegal grows far from prying eyes. All you need to protect your farm is a gate and guns.
Episodes one and two trace Garret’s footsteps, and it was confirmed by the Humboldt County Sherriff’s Office that the body was eventually found in December 2013. Foul play was suspected, as he was buried in a shallow grave in Jewitt Ranch Road thanks to a tip from a citizen.
Garret’s friends disclosed to the show that he was indeed making lots of money working in the cannabis plantations. He had lots of friends and was clearly loved by lots of people. The problem was that he was noisy about his cash. Garett apparently was flaunting his greens, which, cannabis or not, is never a wise thing to do. It’s suspected that he ruffled a few feathers along the way, which resulted in his murder.
What exactly happened to Garret? Watch the show to find out more!
Lessons From Murder Mountain
Kids, if you’re going to head off to Humboldt to work in a cannabis farm, make sure that you’re working for someone whose business is licensed. Ask for papers, and always let your family and friends know where you are.
The sad part about cannabis legalization is that while it’s good for the rest of the country, it hasn’t benefited the farmers of Emerald County, many of whom have spent the last few decades cultivating cannabis here. Legalization brings along with it regulation and taxes, and many of the farmers here can’t afford the thousands of dollars that come along with making their business legal.
Should they choose to hide their grows, and thousands of them still do, doing so is easy in Emerald County. It may seem promising to earn $150 a day for trimming a pound of pot; $300 a day even, if you’re fast and efficient. But keep in mind that Humboldt is no longer a stoner’s paradise, and it isn’t worth risking your own life.