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Wednesday, June 12, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Cave of Guns, Ammo, Found in Rural NorCal

GARBERVILLE, Calif. (CN) - The Humboldt County Sheriff's Department arrested two men in connection with a cache of weapons found in a cave in the small northern California town of Garberville, the Sheriff's Department reported.

The search was on after a deputy tried to pull over a pickup that was driving erratically with no rear license plate, Feb. 2, according to a Sheriff's Department press release. The driver refused to stop and led deputies on a slow speed pursuit of around 30 miles per hour, the press release stated.

Eventually, "the vehicle drove off the roadway and down a hillside before crashing into a tree. When deputies reached the vehicle it was unoccupied," the press release said. The Sheriff's Department soon discovered that the truck had just been stolen from owners whose home had been burglarized while they were on vacation, the press release said.

As the investigation unfolded over the next five days, Sheriff's deputies and Humboldt County Drug Task Force agents searched property owned by Ryan Floyd, 30, the department reported. Searches of the property yielded 117 pounds of marijuana, 42 grams of hashish, suspected methamphetamine and heroin, 40 vehicles, ammunition, ballistic vests, and empty gun cases, the local paper reported.

Floyd and another man, Gregory Benson, 48, were arrested Feb 7.

Numerous gun cases found in earlier searches lead deputies to believe there was a cache of firearms stashed somewhere on the property. That and reports of additional stolen items that may be found on the property brought them back on Feb. 12.

"During the search of the 55 acre property an alert deputy located a cave in some rocks that was covered with brush. Upon further investigation the deputy discovered the cave was filled with numerous firearms," a Feb. 13 press release stated.

"I've never seen anything like this before," Deputy Tony Gomes told the local paper.

Floyd's property had been a subject of interest to the Sheriff's Department in the past, the paper reported. "Fifteen years ago, lots of property was strewn about: cars and generators. It hasn't changed much," Sheriff Mike Downey told the paper.

The number of discovered weapons currently stands at 111 with 20 confirmed stolen, Lieutenant Steve Knight of the Humboldt Sheriff's Office told Courthouse News, Friday. Other stolen property includes two tractors, jewelry, an air compressor, and a concrete cutter. The department is working to identify the owners of the vehicles, guns, and other personal property and determine which ones are stolen. "It is a work in progress," Knight said. "Our property technician is processing quite a few e-mails," from local residents who have been robbed and think some of the items might be theirs.

A woman named Honey Walsh, 29, is still being sought as a person of interest in the case, according to Knight.

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