Former Undercover Officer Involved in Developing Cannabis Products Accuses Hopland Tribal Police Chief of Theft, Corruption, and Civil Rights Violations


Certified letters

Certified letters sent by Zeke Flatten to three Mendocino County Departments.

In early February, the Mendocino Sheriff’s Department, District Attorney’s Office, and the Grand Jury received certified letters from a Texas man and former undercover investigator, Zeke Flatten, alleging that three pounds of marijuana were removed illegally from his rental vehicle on December 5 by two men claiming to be federal ATF agents. Flatten alleges that instead, the men were two local law enforcement officers including one that he states he believes “with almost certainty” to have been the then Hopland Tribal Police Chief Steve Hobb. He told us that he also believes he might know the identity of the other officer.

Zeke Flatten is a movie producer who also is involved in what he describes as the “research and product development of cannabis products”–which includes creating a T.V. pilot and a CBD dog treat. In the letters to the three Mendocino departments, Flatten stated,

I have made several attempts since early December (2017) to file a complaint with the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office accusing law enforcement officials in Mendocino County of criminal activity, but my attempts have gone unanswered.

Flatten lists dates and times of his six calls and one email to various individuals within Mendocino County departments beginning on December 8. He also states he has contacted and been contacted by the FBI. He lists the date and time and name [spelled incorrectly] of one of the agents that he had contact with.

Letter from Zeke Flatten to the Mendocino Grand Jury alleging police corruption.

Letter from Zeke Flatten alleging police corruption.

He includes a statement of what he says occurred on December 5. (Read the entire document here.) In the statement, he alleges he was pulled over by an unmarked police vehicle and three pounds of cannabis were seized by two officers that quickly stopped him, extracted the cannabis without leaving a voucher, and left him without searching his vehicle in “less than 5 minutes.” Flatten said he may have the fingerprints of the two men he alleges took his product on his rental car paperwork that they both handled but, so far, no law enforcement agency has attempted to develop prints and match them with suspects.

Since the letters were received, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department has confirmed to us they have begun an investigation into his allegations. In addition, the ATF has confirmed also that they are doing an investigation. Chief Hobb confirmed to us that he had spoken to an FBI agent and that he was leaving his job working for the Hopland Tribal Police. He said he was going to work for another police agency.

Flatten says he is happy that the investigation has begun but wishes that it had started back in December when he made the first call. “If [law enforcement] would have acted earlier, they would have had other ways to get evidence,” Flatten said, suggesting that since Hwy 101 is the only major road between the place where he pulled over and Hopland, that surveillance videos from businesses might have been able to capture the distinctive unmarked vehicle that was used to pull him over as it drove into town. “By law enforcement not reacting sooner, some of the things are gone now,” he stated.

Note: We’ve interviewed Flatten extensively and have a more detailed article available here. Outraged: One Man’s Two Month Quest From the FBI to the ATF to Expose What He Says Are Corrupt Police Officers in Mendocino County




  • This has been going on in humboldt and mendo for decades to one degree or another. The CAMP days were bad and corrupt with fudged weed numbers and stolen money along with civil rights violations. Around here it sounds like you got off lucky,not trying to sound rude,but no ticket and a 5 min harassment,the “cops” just figured you had more lbs that would be replaced with. Yep, your weed was probley sold or smoked and never put in evidence. Yep,they probley illegally convinscated many other lbs that day/week while never reporting any of it. Welcome to the emerald triangle my friend, where corruption,greed,envy,money laundering,theft,murder and betrayal is the unspoken“law” round dis parts. Good luck. You got balls son,I’ll give you that,I wouldn’t plan on traveling through mendo any time soon though (see missing persons article)

    • Use Google Dig Deeper

      A word to the wise that this whistle-blower should be very careful, remember what happened to the deputies from Covelo who “knew too much” about the Sheriff Wife Swapping and Payoffs happening in Covelo, Deputy Brett White and Deputy Gore…. they both mysteriously “committed suicide” with other higher-ups in the Sheriff Department present; they will do anything to cover up their criminal tracks and I do not put murder out of the possibilities they will use to cover their criminal behavior. Many people still find it suspect that both of these Deputy Suicides happened in the presence of other key Mendocino County Sheriff Heads who had alot of criminal behavior and tracks to cover.

    • Mendocino county has been doing this kind of thing for years, they blame it on someone else. We have all been hoping Internal Affairs would plant a mole to catch them red handed
      Read this article, it has some similarities

      • Turns out it was the sheriff

  • Tip of the iceberg Kym! Honestly this is not the first time I’ve ever heard stories like this in my over 40 Years of living up here. I hear them frequently. I myself was pulled over one time. I asked what I did and he said I believe you are transporting cannabis. I seriously wondered how a plain car, clean and with no identifying features could be assumed to contain cannabis. I told him no I don’t have any of that. He would not listen and the officer was feverishly looking for cannabis. Several other officers gathered to witness the huge bust coming down. He grabbed a large shoe box out of the back of my car that contained some high heeled boots. I told him and his compadres…” you’re not going to find anything in that box but boots.” and he laughed and said “yeah sure” with a sly little smile. He put it proudly on the hood of my car for all passerby to see. With his hands obviously shaking in anticipation he ceremoniously lifted the lid and guess what? It was only boots. He rapidly shoved the box back at me at me. Grumbled something about it being my “lucky day.” The other officers bolted off lickety split. He then let me go without citing me or searching the rest of my car or anything. I know several friends that have had tens of thousands of dollars taken from them in cars only to be given no receipts no citations and just let go. I know of officers that have sold retired service revolvers to folks in the 215 set. The corruption runs and swings wide and deep unfortunately. Has forever, it is not going to end anytime soon.

    • But this is the 1st time, one of those guys pulled over their own & ripped him off. 😂I’m dying over here. Who better to document and take all the neccessry protocol to crack this case. Go get em Flatten!

  • I had an eighth confiscated and when I went to pay the fine, there wasn’t a ticket….hope the cops choked hard bong ripping it!

  • Whaaaat??? Corrupt law enforcement officers??? For forty years this has been going on. Both on the local triangle level and the imported CAMP level. And now add Fish and Game to the mix.
    Time to invest in a good dash cam system!

  • I’m surprised that anyone up to their eyeballs in dishonest businesses can muster outrage over the dishonesty in police. Somehow they expect that they (and only they) should not be subject to the corruption they create for others.

    What else can they expect in a world they create? It’s what happens in a lawless world. It corrupts everything it touches. You’d be ROFL at any post suggesting what you’re doing is wrong, calling them judgemental and right wing. Well guess who doesn’t get to draw the line at right and wrong based on their personal convenience. Once the line is dismissed, you can’t expect it to rise up and protect you.

    • I can’t believe you think that, regardless all law Enforcement must follow the law or everyone is fucked.

      • When cops break the law, there is no law. Guest is right. SoHum is lawless thanks to the subculture of lawlessness bred by the growers. It corrupts everything it touches.

        • The problem started in SoHum when they quit enforcing laws, and they still haven’t started, when people used to go to prison for committing crimes/felony’s it was a much nicer place to live, I still love it here and can’t wait for change, but it may never come, either way it’s home and always will be.

      • Um??? Is there two guests? Im confused?

    • I’m surprised you think the police should not be held accountable for their crimes. Seriously.

  • Pingback: Outraged: One Man’s Two Month Quest From the FBI to the ATF to Expose What He Says Are Corrupt Police Officers in Mendocino County – Stop Tribal Genocide

  • In other news, water is wet and you can breathe air! This happens daily. Glad they finally did it to someone who might be heard, go gettem!

  • So much for buying cheap in Humboldt and selling high in Frisco Mr. Flatten, sounds like your plan got flattened, too funny, drug runners everywhere

  • Wow! Next level journalism. I love that you INVESTIGATE and present a solid in-biases story unlike other online news sources. Thank you!

  • When Allman was elected MCSO the first time, a neighbor and I made an 8 am meeting with him for the purpose of cluing him in on the extracurricular incomes throughout the cop system, from CAMP, the DEA, MCSO, etc.
    We had hired a PI, and had proof enough for indictments. Despite having won the election thanks to the endorsement of Tony Craver (former MCSO sheriff) who actually WAS an honest cop, Allman blew us off. We figured it out right then: Power Corrupts. Period. Teach your children well.
    The likes of Reno Bartolomie and Tony Craver will never walk among us again. Ever.

      I’ve been politically active for the entire 48 years I’ve been here; consequently, I’ve never dared use Cannabis as a source of income; “figureheads” are favorite targets for a bust. The reasons are obvious.

    • Me, too, and I can recall two episodes of police corruption, one of which was corrected by the Ukiah police themselves. It involved two officers rolling drunk Mexicans. The other was a wobbler, but verified by a reasonably honest witness, in which a guy was arrested with twenty thou cash but only ten was booked. The officer responsible died in a motorcycle accident. If Ms. Forrest has more I’d like to hear/see it. If she won’t share it she shouldn’t be suggesting that Sheriff Allman is corrupt.

  • Nothing new.

  • Sounds like butt hurt to me. Just another dope dealer.

  • It should not matter what you do for a living ,
    Law enforcement should abide by all laws just like everyone else!
    Corruption is everywhere, I personally have been harassed by law enforcement because of age , gender & vehicle choice! Doesn’t matter if abiding by all laws! This is not just cali, happens everywhere!
    Friend got pulled over in Petaluma with 80,000$ cash, no reason other than rental car! Cops took his money,legal money witch he can prove! No ticket, no voucher! Just twp cops stealing money! Dirty dirty dirty! Justified??
    Fuck you festes!

    • No it shouldn’t matter but in real life police are not above the environment in which they police. But that is not the point. There’s a truck load of shouldn’ts going on. But the biggest is that, if you want the law to protect you, you shouldn’t have trashed it for decades until it’s in tatters.

      So many here are quite loud about their abuse of the law and their intention to keep right on abusing it looking to keep the money they think can still be made from it. They don’t care about others.

      So the point is that, if the police did behave lawlessly, they should be held accountable for having made personal use of what they confiscated. At the same time, the person who is complaining about having what was illegal for them to have should be equally held responsible. They should have lost what was taken anyway. He lost what he should have never had. Too bad, so sad. To make it right, they should ho back and charge him if it’s appropriate.

      • PS. Rule #37 in drug trafficking….don’t use rental cars. I agree with guest. This whole tri county is corrupt. From mom n pop growers to estell fennel and beyond. Bought and paid. Live with it or move. There’s just to much money here not to be….look at our county and there permitting tax? Huh?

      • Just to be clear, operating in a gray area doesn’t mean something most people would find terribly troublesome. This is not the black market. All people trying to work on building cannabis companies are trying to work with incomplete rules. In December, it was legal to work on product development of cannabis but not to transport some from the farm to the place you were developing it without a specialized license and transport company. Which of course is a bit problematic because the permit for a cannabis transport couldn’t be issued until January 1. All over the state, growers are transporting their product which they have permits for to distributors which also have permits. The only time the pounds are in the grey area is during transport. On top of that, Flatten had a medical card which allows a patient to have cannabis and that rule was still in effect. I’m not totally clear on the law here but neither is almost anyone except very specialized attorneys.

      • Coca, heroina, mota, jente.all changed fentanyl analogs, some considered legal, not for have only government to blame.your government, church and realestate.depression, cristal.chemical rape, hotshot robbers.stay at su tele.dogs and lizards like ketamin.for depression, malnutrition, disassociation.disrupting learned behavior . relatively stops sensory input.most potent, least dangerous is patent by carabateas, agent, from common chemicals.up to 1/2 million a is up to us.not up to police or church.

  • Surprised the LOCO isn’t carrying this news. Let’s get this information out there! Corruption is evil and if it’s tied to the police or court system it’s doubly evil. These are the people we entrust with the use of lethal force and the power to lock some-one up in prison. Corruption among them should rooted out and punished to fullest extent possible.

    And while they’re at it the FBI should be looking into the the situation in Humboldt County.

    The way cartel mules busted with multiple pounds of meth and/or heroin have routinely been immediately released (on their own recognizance no less!) by the Sheriff’s office stinks of corruption. Things seem to have improved with the new Sheriff, but… he was handpicked by the old one, so I think we have to wait and see. He may just be keeping things tight until after the elections are over.



  • A Texas resident in possession of weed in California. Yes, he was breaking the law. Open and shut case in Mendocino courts.

    • Soooo, why didn’t they arrest him?

      • They got what they WANTED! 😨

      • Exactly Or give him a ticket, or run his name, he could have been a wanted serial killer or the head of isis’s Mendocino chapter😉

      • They should have. Maybe they still can. As far that, it is a waste of time to arrest someone these days for illegal drug possession, even before California’s legalization. That doesn’t mean that they get to keep the drugs.

        • groba dude osnt trustafarian

          Sorry, kids, but Mendo hasn’t the money to prosecute weed crime. Or space in the jail.

          People who come from other states and expect rural Northern California to be like home, may be surprised by what they see.

          It’s crazy-land, and I mean from about Healdsburg North! Actually, forget about it – let’s just say everywhere North of I-80… Oooooops! The whole fucking state!

          These days, I am liking Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah more and more!

          • Yes California is the worlds largest outdoor insane asylum, run by the inmates,

          • You obviously have no idea what’s going on, DA Eysters pay to play program generates enough money to bust and prosecute people. With most the “restitution” money going back to the department that busted the person, and the rest to the DA’s office. Do your homework on the matter

  • Or…they weren’t cops to begin with.

    • groba dude osnt trustafarian

      It’s interesting that stoners are always telling stories about being jacked by phony cops, or phony SWAT teams with AR-15’s.

      I think you all should stop doing drugs for a few days and see if your prospective shifts a little…

      I don’t buy this guy’s story, and I don’t like his righteous attitude… If you are in a sovereign nation’s space, expect to follow their rules…

      • Let us be very clear. He was not on reservation land. He was miles south of it.

        • So HE says…

          • Of course, Mr. Flatten could have set this whole thing up. He could have never been robbed. That is what an investigation should prove. On the other hand, it is very hard to imagine what joy there is in spending long hours and a lot of energy trying to get people to listen to you.

            • I certainly agree. Once wound up, some folks can really fuss a lot!

              In any case, it’s a damned amusing story, and it makes OK copy. I just don’t believe any of it.

              Nobody is going to give back any marijuana, and he might discredit the officer a bit.

              Faced with the amount of crime vs the number of LEO’s, it seems like someone is wasting some time here…

      • Not many, if ANY care a lot about YOUR attitude either!!!

        • groba dude osnt trustafarian

          Roll another one, Dan. Funny thing is I usually AGREE with you!

          As for MY attitude, I agree, it’s pretty bad… I really struggle with it, late at night, for a few seconds, before falling. Sound. Asleep.

          As for sworn officers stealing directly from citizens: my experience is that you can’t trust a drug user. What this guy hopes to accomplish here baffles me, and if he can prove what he says in court, then I might consider believing him. Until then, I wish everyone would quit assuming that the cops were crooked, in this case.

          OH! I have a couple of pounds of leftover cocaine, from the 80’s. Would anyone like to develop a nasal spray for cats?

  • Epd has stolen from me and told me it is felony to take water, without paying.let me be first to be examined by mckinleyvilles sheriff’s voice stress anylisis device.i want to show my willingness to be checked by them.i have much to say.but not to an agency known to be corrupt.i have some friends that would like to help, if they were to threaten me.estas aliniado? Yo soy.

  • 3 lbs…achooo! Scuse me

  • Use Google Dig Deeper

    Leaving so soon Mr. Hobb? Is the heat getting too hot to handle after you robbed and ripped off the people you were sworn in to serve and protect…. sure is suspect that “all of a sudden” you are leaving to a “real department”…. seems like the hounds have been called out to look for the robber, and this time the robber is one of the Deputies….. “Since the letters were received, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department has confirmed to us they have begun an investigation into his allegations. In addition, the ATF has confirmed also that they are doing an investigation. Chief Hobb confirmed to us that he had spoken to an FBI agent and that he was leaving his job working for the Hopland Tribal Police. He said he was going to work for another police agency”….. leaving because he knows he is under investigation for robbery!

    • So check out the cars and uniforms shown in the internet pictures that the person is basing his claim that he “is almost certain” of. The car and uniform are completely different then the green unmarked uniform and black car. It’s much more likely that this was a phony bust, easy enough to make up fake license plates. Also that area hasn’t been called squaw rock for years now, it’s Frog Women Rock.

    • So check out the cars and uniforms shown in the internet pictures that the person is basing his claim that he “is almost certain” of. The car and uniform are completely different then the green unmarked uniform and black car. It’s much more likely that this was a phony bust, easy enough to make up fake license plates.

  • Proper evidence handling would dictate that this 3 pounds would be documented, the person in posession would receive a evidence reciept of items seized. The evidence would be recorded and property stored or disposed of. Since non of this was done, it is obvious that this evidence was stolen by the officer, not legally confiscated, and that the evidence, 3 pounds of cannabis were sold on the black market. Many deputies from the MCSO make “extra income” by confiscating pounds and cash instead of making arrests they let the suspect go, these cases are left Un reported because just like this case the deputy says “you may get a letter for court”, meanwhile the deputy laughs all the way to the blacknmarket dealer he knows and later laughs on his Mexico Vacation he has extra money for, money for vacation and money for Steroids from Mexico for the department, since MCSO person ell love steroids from Mexico. This is all truth from 1st hand knowledge.

  • It’s always a bummer when you are running contraband for profit that another person acting illegally (like you) might take your stuff. I think it’s funny. We have always known that it’s part of the game. To cry about how maybe “somebody could get hurt someday” is whining. Nobody got hurt. You lost your weed, bro. Quit crying.

    • I love the crying and whining. It’s the sound of what goes around coming around. Farce, if more the pot grower/users were like you, I just might have to give them some respect.

      • Do you believe in civil rights? Its part
        Of what makes this the USA, if you think some people should be treated different then others, maybe go find a country without civil rights.

        • Well, the police can confiscate any illegal product of mine they want. That is an acceptable equality under the law. You seem to be confused about what civil rights are. They do not include the right to retain the illegal drugs.

          • I have to think Farce and Guest are being disingenuous. Both of you are intelligent commenters and know that even murderers have civil rights–for instance, the Constitution prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.

            And, of course, Mr. Flatten made it clear that he does not object to having his cannabis lawfully seized. What he is objecting to is a law enforcement officer corruptly seizing it for his own use.

            His point is that this was unlawfully seized. And if an officer is doing something illegal here, then what else is he doing illegally?

            • It is pretty simple. The police are criminal if his allegations are proved. Frankly they would be thieves, corruptly abusing their office, among other things. They would hopefully be in big trouble.

              But his civil rights were not violated at all. He had no right to illegal drugs. Once they found the drugs, he has no standing. He is guilty himself. They are not proposing to use these drugs as evidence in his trial, which he and his lawyer would gleefully demand being dismissed as that is the only possible use of the idea of “unlawfully seized”. Since they did not do that, what civil rights of his were violated? They are not going to return the drugs.

              That is one idea that criminals are so prone to misunderstanding. The police being wrong does not make them right although they so frequently will display great offense at how the police violated their “rights” as they see it. It is not a get out of jail free card, which they seem to think it is, like there some great cosmic rule book that is not being taken seriously.

              • The Bill of Rights exists to protect citizens from overreach by government agents. I’m no lawyer but wouldn’t detaining someone with threat of force (and yes, using the appearance of being a lawfully acting officer of the law would be threat of force to me) be a violation of those rights?

                Specifically, it would appear to me that Mr. Flatten’s right to be free from Unlawful Search and Seizure was violated. This right protects an individual from law enforcement searching your or your things unless they have legal justification for doing so.

                • Hold it. If you grow illegal amounts of cannabis, sell them, buy them, transport them, smoke cannabis in an illegal location, you are breaking the law, and may be prosecuted.

                  Being prosecuted is very inconvenient, expensive, and rather unpleasant, I suspect. BUT, in this case, the officer confiscated the contraband, and let the offender go.

                  The end.

                  This individual has avoided prosecution, for the cost of a little weed.

                  Why he is fussing about the disposal of the weed is beyond me! Whatever he can prove, he is not in jail or, apparently, facing charges. Today.

                  I strongly suggest that pursuing a charge against the officers involved here, could result in a charge against himself.

                  Meanwhile, I would like to see his proof before everyone just accepts that he was jacked for his pounds by crooked cops!

                  The bill of rights does not provide for citizens to break any old law they don’t like. AND, we only have the report of the offender!

                  Lets see some proof and hear from the arresting officers before we decide anything.

                • But, but, but it wasn’t unlawful. He had the illegal drugs. There is no civil right to be protected from law enforcement while engaging in criminal activity. You are confusing the idea of “tainted evidence” -a dubious legal fiction but ok- with a civil right against unlawful search and seizure. If the cops had cause to stop him- gasoline leaking at the least despite his absolute conviction of his rectitude (which is dubious testimony at best)- if they were police at all, found drugs, there is the answer to his civil rights.

                  That the evidence was not correctly handled and misappropriated for personal profit, if that is what happened, makes those who did it criminal but civil rights violation allegations are inappropriate.

                • AND, Mr Flatten is welcome to bring legal action against the agencies involved. The burden of proof is on him.

                  Why Mr Flatten would want to blather in the media, seems to me, is probably because he has no proof of anything at all. Fuss is fuss, but it is pretty worthless in court.

                  Talk is inexpensive: we can all afford a lot of it…

                  Mr Flatten should act like a grown up, if he can’t act like a professional, and should let this one go, before he ends up in a deeper pickle than he is already in.

  • I have personally seen a MCSO officer through garbage out the window of an SUV in downtown Hopland. Not right.

  • Yeah I’ve been chewing on this article for a couple days tossing some stuff around in my head. This is definitely nothing new in Mendocino. I think of the sheriffs officer I’m not going to name him from Covelo who tried to complain and wound up commiting suicide. Then his co worker did the same. The third one was demoted, paid off and I dont know the rest of his story. And that’s just the stuff that gets leaked out every once in a while I’m sure there’s thousands of more stories just like it. Wild west at its best!!! Hee haw!

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