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