On Father’s day weekend, June 2012, my father and I were using a 4″ dredge (The only economical way) to mine for under water gold deposits on our federal mining claim in Plumas county. We had planned this trip as one last opportunity for us to get out this season due to the fact my wife was 8 months pregnant with my daughter and I would be preoccupied for awhile not to mention it was fathers day.
We were dredging without a permit due to the fact the state has refused to issue permits since the passage of SB670 In 2009 prohibiting suction dredge mining on all waterways of California. Being on a federal mining claim, we believed we had federal rights beyond those that the state was trying to impose so we continued to mine like we always had knowing we could be caught at anytime and cited.
Well that day came on June 16th, 2012. I was dredging along while my father was tending the dredge. Not more than 3-hours into my shift, Department of Fish and Game(DFG or DFW) appeared at the location where I was mining. I was underwater at the time but quickly came to the surface when the dredge was shut off by my father letting me know that DFG was there. There were 2 officers there, Mark Imsdahl and Mike Beals. After efforts to convince them of my rights failed the wardens proceeded with stealing my equipment and issuing me 2 citations, One for use and one for possession of a dredge in a closed waterway under Fish and Game code 5653.1b
I later went to trial in May 15, 2013. Many miners showed up for my support but the court had already made its decision. I was then found guilty of two misdemeanors, fined $832 and given 3 years probation.
I appealed in 2013.