Being Raided: One Grower’s Perspective

Information about marijuana raids usually comes to news media via reports from law enforcement. Or occasionally from other outside groups. Rarely do we glimpse the world of a grower who is raided.

On Wednesday, we received video, photos and information from a man who says he is a marijuana grower whose plants were chopped down by law enforcement in the Weitchpec area earlier this week. (See here for earlier stories.) We have confirmed as far as possible that this is correct. We are going to present his point of view. We cannot verify some of his allegations and we caution that they are only allegations. We are not endorsing his point of view. We are simply presenting it.

Not long before the raid, the grower took these photos of his gardens. He did not give canopy size or plant numbers but did say that he had over 99 plants. He explained that his neighborhood consisted of both small and large marijuana grows. “Our neighborhood has become the convergence of the mom and pop homesteads and the lease-to-own mega grows,” he wrote. “It’s like a clash of two different ideals. One being the hit and run business model of absentee land owners and the other looking to strike a balance between economic survival and land stewardship.”

Yurok officials, however, characterized all those targeted as “greedy growers looking to make a quick buck.”

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On Monday, law enforcement began serving search warrants in the Weitchpec area. According to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, numerous agencies participated including, “Humboldt County Drug Task Force, Yurok Tribal Police Department, California National Guard, California Department of Fish and Wild Life Services, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), and the State of California, Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP).”

The Sheriff’s Office reported on Wednesday that up to that point the agencies had eradicated “10,261 growing marijuana plants and seized 600 pounds of processed marijuana.” Some of the plants cut down this week belonged to the garden above.

Taken from the shadows, this video shows the convoy that arrived to cut down the grower’s garden.

Afterwards. the grower claimed, “No search warrant left on the scene. Should have stayed put, but was over 99 [plants.] Seems that once you hit 100 and beyond, 215 is out despite scripts….Fish and Wildlife walked lines on all properties and our “deeded” water rights apparently will not be respected. The properties were sold by a realtor who guarantee us the right to water. Now we face a $1000 a day fine if we pull water. Fair enough but we have built lives out here.”

After law enforcement had finished, the following photos of the garden were taken.

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The raids continued Thursday, instead of officers arriving by ground vehicles, we received video of agents being airlifted in by helicopters to properties being raided in the Weitchpec area.

The former grower described this week’s raid as “the most intense and thorough eradication effort I’ve seen.”

He said law enforcement took a “[t]otally different approach” on Thursday. “Raids all taking place by air and no atvs…no vehicles. Just 12 deputies airlifted from garden to garden. Deputies were shuttled by helicopter two at a time…Aided by a CalFire spotter plane... .” [Cal Fire denies that they had a spotter plane involved.]

The size of the gardens, he believed, didn’t matter. There was “[z]ero tolerance no matter the scale,” he said. “All gardens treated the same from 40 plants with a [doctor’s] note to several hundreds or thousands.”

The grower also claimed that these agencies were “treating unarmed growers like armed combatants. He wrote,

[There were] no guns at my property or neighbors. [My neighbor] went to meet [law enforcement] at the gate with his script and was meet with a dozen deputies in full tactical gear…assault weapons drawn and ready to take him down. The property owner was a hair trigger away from a terrible accident. …We really deserve local deputies that can make the judgement of which growers pose a threat and which …growers are just a few dozen plants over the limit.There is no rational reason for a guy holding his 215 to look down the barrel of dozen assault rifle.

For more on how growers are viewing this last week’s raid, KMUD has an interview with a woman who describes when her marijuana grow was eradicated.

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51 comments

  • curiouser & Curiouser©

    Maybe the air approach had something to do with them previously encountering an unanticipated bit of re-grading work.

  • I’m surprised our local deputies are trained to travel suspended below a helicopter. Or were they state or feds?

  • They steal water and grow illegaly but want us to feel sorry for them. I don’t. By the way i have nothing against weed it should be legal.

    • Well it’s the water that’s illegal now even when “deeded” and recorded on the title. Properties are sold by Humboldt real estate agents at a premium based on the availability and access to water.

  • That’s a big booby trap.geeze

  • Nice dep. Jealous [edit.] Guns are for wimps.

  • Looks like he was outta harms way by the time the gang arrived. How long ahead of time did he get the word the jig was up? Was any of your property damaged other than the grow?
    Build up those beds and piece together a black box you could still have a merry Christmas in Kona.

    Ya gotta remember. Its never been a sure fire thing. Your playing the numbers.

  • “We have confirmed as far as possible that this is correct. We are going to present his point of view. We cannot verify some of his allegations and we caution that they are only allegations. We are not endorsing his point of view. We are simply presenting it.” this would be a good caution to use when you print law enforcement press releases, too. They are full of inaccuracies, to be polite. Interesting that someone spoke out. I hope things turn out well for him.

    • When we post law enforcement press releases that name names we preface with “This is a press release from the [name of the agency]. The information has not been proven in a court of law and the individuals described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty: ”
      But this last week we’ve been so slammed that I see we have forgotten. Please remind me if I forget again.

      • Are the raids still going out there?

      • is the law 99 plants in 100 sq ft or just 99 plants anything goes? Do you know?

        • The law in Humboldt county, outside of the cities with governments, is this: if you are on 5 acres or more, you can grow 100 sq ft per patient with no limit on plant count or number of patients. This is probably the last growing season that this is going to be true since the board just can’t leave well enough alone. These canopy limits are minimums. A patient can grow as much as they need, and if 100 square feet won’t do it, then they can grow more. But they’ll need to prove they need more. The 100 square feet is presumed required for everyone. The Board said you can get 3 pounds from your 100 sq feet, I’m told some people can do better. Most patients need about 6 pounds a year, which is what the feds give their patients. On smaller parcels, indoors, or in the governed cities, the limits are lower. Quite a bit lower, in fact.

          • notorious_min@yahoo.com

            The difference between what they’ll allow on 5 acres and above vs. under 5 is TOO much. It’s not fair. What if the parcel is 3.75 or 4.25? That’s more than enough to safely and respectfully grow 100 sq ft/per patient etc. There was not very good planning or attempts to include public comments on these amounts. I can understand 1/2 acre limits and 1 acre limits because of the relatively small area. The tiering needs to be better on 1 – 10 acre parcels. 1-2 a tier, 3-4 a tier, 4-5 a tier, then maybe jump to 5.01 – 7.5, and so on. There is a SIGNIFICANT difference in a 1 acre parcel versus 5. They shouldn’t have the same limit. Is it too late to petition the BOS on this? Or request an amendment? Anyone know what could be done?

          • The difference between what they’ll allow on 5 acres and above vs. under 5 is TOO much. It’s not fair. What if the parcel is 3.75 or 4.25? That’s more than enough to safely and respectfully grow 100 sq ft/per patient etc. There was not very good planning or attempts to include public comments on these amounts. I can understand 1/2 acre limits and 1 acre limits because of the relatively small area. The tiering needs to be better on 1 – 10 acre parcels. 1-2 a tier, 3-4 a tier, 4-5 a tier, then maybe jump to 5.01 – 7.5, and so on. There is a SIGNIFICANT difference in a 1 acre parcel versus 5. They shouldn’t have the same limit. Is it too late to petition the BOS on this? Or request an amendment? Anyone know what could be done?

          • 6 pounds a year ?

          • Notorious,

            Under 5 acres was done by the planning department and the Supes last year. It took 3 years for the whole process to come to completion.

            It was in part in response to the 5 acre and under matter that we founded CCVH. CCVH was formed by the end of the process and in our opinion we were successful in organizing testimony and presenting information to influnce the process positively via community organizing. The original proposal was for only 50sqft, and the Supes decided to raise it to 200, and make other positive changes.

            It’s why we took up the matter of 5 acres and above ourselves, since 2015 legislation and 2016 legalization are both coming. Our community was simply out of time.

            I hope this helps.

          • Thank you so much for the information Ed. Is there any way you know of to collectively hold these guys accountable, after the fact? Class Action Suit or something?

          • This is not county. This is not state. This is the Yurok Reservation which has zero tolerance, so the size of the grow does not matter. Most of these places were raided last year. They took a chance this year. The choice for next year should be not to grow because the Yurok Tribe will be back. Buy somewhere else.

          • This is not county. This is not state. This is the Yurok Reservation which as zero tolerance, so the size of the grow does not matter. Most of these places were raided last year. They took a chance this year. The choice for next year should be not to grow because the Yurok Tribe will be back. Buy somewhere else.

    • Lost Croat Outburst

      Thanks for chiming in, Ed, seriously. We have to be ever vigilant about baseline mindsets based on false assumptions in the public mind as well as unwarranted, un-supported “stipulations” from law enforcement. That said, toxic, abusive mega-gardens run by toxic, abusive personnel are difficult to defend. A fair and equitable regulatory regimen will solve most of the problem. Too bad the Tribe will miss out since they have sworn eternal enmity against this plant. Well, they have gambling.

  • The cops are milking the over time. It’s obvious. Any of you folks in the hills noticing the helicopter action on weekends? Why would this take place on Saturdays if they were not straight up milking the tax payers for overtime. Camp out on island mnt? Hey why not more OT… Anyone watch that video of those sheriffs picketing Rex’s gathering? Easiest way to get that raise that the supes won’t give them, is milk the OT.

    The funny thing is the tax payers are responsible for this blatant over use of tax dollars. Sherriff Downey convinced the public that we have a theft, hard drug, public safety issue, and that we need to vote in measure Z to fund the solution to these issues… IE more officers on the streets.

    Well folks he got the last laugh. He got you growers to fund the fight against you! Sales tax revenue now goes straight to paying for excessive overtime for the sheriffs to cut the way you make the dollars you spend to fund measure Z!!

    Wait what about the fact that the Mexican cartels now have free range of our public lands and timber company lands because the sheriffs have up on public lands two years ago. Way better chance of cash confiscation on homesteads.

    • Downey 100% fooled us all. All of Measure Z plus more, is funding these raids. They say it’s not but it is. Otherwise they would’ve done something in the past two years to help with other crime problems. Look at Willow Creek’s recent burglary rampage. That could’ve been managed and prevented if their were more officers. Why aren’t there? Downey said there’s no money. Oh but there’s unlimited money to raid grows. What do people think will support the Humboldt economy if the pot industry disappeared? It would tank! This whole environmental bandwagon is Downey looking for a new cash funnel. Since when is the Sheriff responsible for the environment? Isn’t that what the EPA and environmental groups are for? It’s BS. Downey has no other accomplishments. He’s desperate to try and make himself look good. The average citizens know the truth. Downey doesn’t give two shi…ts. Him and O’Rourke (Yurok Chair) are as corrupt as they come.

    • The raids described here happened during the week.

  • When you play with fire you can get burnt … how does any commercial cannabis grower not realize that they are playing with fire?

    Farm legally if you don’t like what comes with being an outlaw.

    • Medical marijuana is legal.

    • It’s become very apartment through citizen reports from raids this year and last year, that the only good having a medical recommendation and 99plants or less is doing for anyone is after the fact defense in court. The cops will still cut it down. Doesn’t matter what you say, how many patients you represent, or anything if the cops go through the motions to get to the hills they ain’t leaving empty handed.

      ED- why are they able to get a warrant on medical scenes? How can the judge that issues the warrant be sure that the operation is a out of complience commercial grow and not a cooperative medical grow?

      Kind of a odd situation when the sheriff is not representing the general populations wishes… (That’s my opinion no facts to back it up so don’t start a blogging war on why I’m way off bases just observation)

  • Nice film clip in the middle anyway. ” What’s that Lassie? Bad guys kidnapped our plants? Run and call the Sher,…………..oh never mind”.

  • LAZY SKUNK RANCH

    It shouldn’t be up to government what you can and can’t do on your land. Some time back our former country tossed out this king guy and his armed thugs for a 3% income tax and property regulation.

    Not sure where and when the former United States became subverted and turned into crown worshiping wastes of life, but it seems to be the future.

    Welfare is a check someone gets for NOT working in the free market.

    I feel bad for this Property owner having his place trashed by welfare people that can’t even feed themselves without eating from the plates of others.

    They will stand before the Judgement Throne and pay for their sins, many of us will be there as they are thrown into the Lake Of Fire. Christians DON’T work in government. Any “Christian” that works in government is a complete liar and will pay the price before God.

    Blessings to the grower and may he watch the welfare thieves be sent to Hell on Judgement Day.

  • 72 plants, private land of non-Yurok person , 100 percent environmentally sound ( not 1 violation) two CA recommendations for 99 each person and cut. Somehow these police need to be checked. All this under the “Yurok zero tolerance” . It’s a natural herb that has helped people for centuries, unlike your casino which only brings misery to people who have a gambling addiction. But that’s okay cause it lines your pockets. The ugly truth of this Yurok sitch is so blatantly transparent. You would think American Indians would respect the plant instead the choose to take money from gambling playing to people’s vices and weaknesses. Yay for going after commercial grows that harm the land but that’s not all your doing. 72 plants, 2 recommendations, private non-Yurok prop and cut with guns in face.

    • Zero tolerance is just that. If you want to grow, get away from the rez and grow your azz off, we don’t want any of it here, medical or recreational. We are tired of the growers, seriously

    • And FYI Cannabis is not native to N America, so why would we American Indians “respect the plant” when we have our own native plants that are more beneficial to all ailments than a dime bag of skunk?

      We’d also appreciate it if you stayed out of our casino, it’s for tourists enjoying our area, not pot growers who like to whine when they get caught breaking the law. Thanks!

  • You know, when you threaten the appearance of control by the HCSO ( digging a giant hole in the road ), you will get the stick. You will get the stick BIGTIME. They call it the justice department but many of us know otherwise.

    • LAZY SKUNK RANCH

      Maybe the cops dug that giant hole just to toss in some other fines or gain access to somewhere that had no business being?

      Just because the cops claim and post a picture of a giant hole, doesn’t mean it’s true.

      Show me an HONEST person that works in government and I’ll show you a unicorn, a title to a bridge back east, and some of the best surfing spots in eastern Arizona.

      I’m fairly certain that picture was taken in Iraq some ten years ago up north.

      • Naw it was a local grower

      • Lost Croat Outburst

        You’ve been in the woods too long. Government employees like the Coast Guard have been very honest this week pulling some dude out of the Manila Dunes Wilderness and rescuing three long-rage sailors from their damned 55ft. Boat in 65mph winds and 20 ft. Seas. The USCG rescue swimmer who jumped into that water was €£~¥#% honest. The government firefighters periodically saving your ass are honest. Cops pulling idiots and killers off the road are honest. The list goes on.

        As to your prior post that anyone should do what they want on their land, what if I want to have a massive bonfire this week? So what if it gets out of hand? The taxpayers and honest firefighters will handle it. Oh, the creek runs through my land so I get ALL the water man. Too bad for you, Downstream Chump.

        Sorry, but the right-wing Fox News-Allen Jones crap is just that: crap.

  • Sorry to hear that Matt, you were doing the right thing and it didn’t matter. This is exactly why we all know the “enviro” card the sheriffs are pulling is total crap. I know of a landowner who was raided in last years operation Yurok fiasco who’s generator fuel line was knifed by the cops left to drain into the ground. Luckily for the earth the tank wasn’t being used at that time and was shut off so it was a very small few cups of fuel spill, but the valve that shut off the tank was out of sight.. Moral of story is that the cops thought they were gonna drain the entire tank.

    • LAZY SKUNK RANCH

      They are doing this to people that run cattle, also. California Dept Of Justice has ex Blackwater guys with mohawks, tats on arms and head, wearing black uniforms with green writing, including a green and gold badge called CDOJ Enviromental Investigation Team. They drive in white expeditions packing major heat, and cut cut locks and go pretty much anywhere.
      Seeing “cops” with death/skull tats walking around is nonsense. They are there eating from the plates of property owners serving the Agenda 21 plan.

      God help us….

  • Who was the Real Estate agent? There are literally only a couple that work that are of the county. Water rights would be spelled out in a preliminary title report. Did the buyer review his, or just take the RE agents word?

    It’s sad to see this Zero Tolerance attitude, as the Yurok and their surrounding neighbors were a smoking culture. Both socially and ceremonially. I have never seen them raid the store in Weitchpec to remove the real poison: Alcohol.

    • Good question. I was hoping some one would pick up on this point. The real estate agent and the land holding company who was selling the land wrote the water rights into the title. The agent determined best access of water for each parcel being sold. There were something like 5 or 6 parcels all put on the market at the same time. On my title it states I have “deeded” water though no more than a 3/4 inch pipe from an adjacent property.

      • Lost Croat Outburst

        Which is basically reasonable as long as the source can sustain it. A 3/4 inch diam. Pipe is fine for most households and what virtually all urban properties get from municipal suppliers. With decent pressure and volume you should be fine. Any kind of large-scale ag. Project might require a bigger hookup or more storage during winter high flows for use in summer.

  • How Law Enforcement Uses the term “Environmental Degradation” as a tool to continue the War on Cannabis in the Emerald Triangle:
    All over the press these days we see Marijuana Eradicators using the term “Environmental Degradation” as justification for their Aggressive and Clandestine Marijuana Raids which are conducted against our community members and local small medical marijuana farmers. The term “Environmental Degradation” is used as a tool to gain public support for their continued “War on Marijuana”. It seems the old war on pot was losing public support so the Industrial Ruling Class needed a new punchline, and “environmental degradation” fit their political toolbag. https://mendonews.wordpress.com/2015/06/24/environmental-degradation-or-just-more-reefer-madness-how-the-term-environmental-degradation-as-a-tool-to-continue-the-war-on-cannabis-in-the-emerald-triangle/

  • the real criminals here are the real estate sales teams that try to make the quick buck

  • Pingback: Al Jazeera Covers Operation Yurok | Redheaded Blackbelt

  • so the 99 plant limit is not reality?
    enough people say it so everyone
    believes it?
    interesting…

  • Nowhere in the article or the comments is it mentioned that these deps had already pulled a crop this year… Nor that the totals were far less than the Island Mountain raid of only seven properties…

  • I’m wondering if the Tribe is willing to buy these properties most of which are not on the reservation or do they expect to receive them through asset forfeiture. Keep in mind there are two types of grows out there the owner operated homestead and the absentee owner grow. I make that distinction because although there are exceptions the homesteads will fall in line with regulations.

  • For clarification, the CDF spotter was flying because these brilliant growers think that when they set an arson fire the pot cops can’t fly. Was hilarious when the CDF helo and the cop helo continued operations within a 1/4 mile of each other. Stupid growers man, just grow where you are supposed to, it’s not rocket science……

    • I realize CDF was there for the arson potential on the days following the first incident. There’s no excuse for arson.

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