Marijuana Raids Underway as Government Agencies Partner With the Yurok Tribe

Operation Yurok officers fill full-sized truck bed with dried marijuana, which was later destroyed.

Operation Yurok officers fill full-sized truck bed with dried marijuana, which was later destroyed. [All photos provided by the Yurok Tribe]

Press release from the Yurok Tribe:

This morning, a team of law enforcement and natural resource protection officers, working in partnership with the Yurok Tribe, started serving search warrants at environmentally destructive cannabis cultivation sites on the Yurok Reservation.

This cooperative marijuana eradication effort is part of Operation Yurok, an annual action that aims to eliminate illegal pot farms from on and near the reservation. These unlawful plantations are responsible for damaging critical fish and wildlife habitat, diverting cold water from fish-bearing creeks and disturbing ceremonial areas. The black market cannabis industry has also put in jeopardy the safety of the local residents on the reservation, particularly those who venture into the high country to pray, as well as harvest traditional foods, basket-making materials and plant-based medicines.

“Protecting the health and welfare of the Yurok people is our primary priority,” said Thomas P. O’Rourke Sr. “I would like to personally thank each and every law enforcement officer for helping us to protect our land, water and way of life.”

Operation Yurok, now in its fourth year, has removed from the Tribe’s territory more than 100,000 plants, multiple hash labs and all manner of unlicensed firearms, not to mention hundreds of pounds of processed marijuana buds. The street value of the yield that would have potentially been produced by the plants alone is approximately $200 million. The cultivation of cannabis is illegal on the Reservation, where there is a Zero Tolerance Policy toward all drugs, including medical marijuana. The Yurok Tribe also has a broad set of statutes that prohibit unpermitted ground disturbing activities, including grading, timber harvest and other undertakings that have the potential to irreparably harm cultural sites.

During the six-month marijuana growing season, Tribal hunters and gatherers refrain from visiting their traditional harvesting grounds because of the very real potential for a conflict with armed growers. Ceremonial practitioners, who go to the high country to pray, have similar concerns.


Skin of a bobcat

Operation Yurok Officers found this poached bobcat at a cannabis cultivation site.

The Yurok Tribe recently solicited a bid to clean up a trespass grow site. The cost came in at more than $100,000 for the removal of the agricultural infrastructure and trash. It is more costly to re-contour graded areas, replant clear cuts and other restoration activities.

For the first time last year, the Operation Yurok team observed a small, yet noticeable, decrease in the number of grow sites on the reservation. A handful of properties previously used to cultivate marijuana were abandoned. The Yurok Tribal Council is committed to facilitating future eradication operations until the numerous threats to the community are no longer present.

“Going into the first Operation Yurok we knew that it would take several years before we would see a difference. Even if it takes another five years, we are going to eradicate this threat to our fish, our river and our lifeway. We were here long before the Green Rush and we will continue to be here long after it’s gone,” concluded Chairman O’Rourke.

Operation Yurok is comprised of the following law enforcement agencies: Yurok Public Safety Department, Bureau of Indian Affairs Law Enforcement Division and the California National Guard Counterdrug Taskforce.



  • looks like they got a lot of work to do .

  • How fast the pot growers and dope growers have changed the language.

    Now instead of being arrested growing dope and being charged with a serious crime you are given a ticket for environmental damage.

  • Apparently, these neanderthals have no idea how easy it is to locate their grow site these days.

  • Diesel DRW - Curb Weight 7762 lbs

    May our Native-American brothers be safe. Zero tolerance is the way, in a culture devastated by Alcohol, Meth, Heroin and prescription drug abuse. Protect your children, live sober, don’t grow weed. Pay attention, Humboldt: here but for the grace…

  • Team C.H.U.M.P.

    This is a start, the tribes have seen the damage first hand. Peer pressure and cultural influence are disregarded by greedy drug pushers, as they don’t care about the future of the children.
    Our jobs are to show them a realistic path, not this example of self centered greed and abuse.

    • Sleepy Alligator

      Get a clue! The hard drugs on the Rez are not being brought in and sold by non- local pot growers, but instead by the tribes own people. The tribe itself should focus more on its members and the future of its children. Just like any other society in America the powerful and wealthy tribal families reap the benefits and everyone else is kicked to the curb. The chairman is a hypocrite! Why not let his struggling tribe take advantage of the opportunity to grow some pot ( like the rest of California and many other states and tribes are doing) so they can make life a little more comfortable for themselves?

      • Team C.H.U.M.P.

        The problem obviously extends beyond the reservation. All of California is now on the greed train. Take off the rose tints and look at the merijuana culture.
        When a grower says they are “crushing it” what that really means is they are crushing the future of our youth. Teens need a healthy start on life. In 10 years from now when people get board of legal merijuana, they will look back over their wasted time and realize merijuana had no benefits to begin with. Hindsight is 20/20.
        Only those who enjoy gains for themselves will not feel the guilt. That is the self centeredness of greed.

      • Well said. Cannabis has brought many benifits to the rest of ca . and with testing requirements its a safer product than its ever been, dont use pesticides or poison and let it grow.

      • The Tribe is trying to protect their fish and waters now contaminated with E-Coli and algae from fertilizers and un-permitted pit toilets. The green rush is just one more attack on their community starting with the early Salmon canneries, the removal of Redwood, Fir, gold land the theft of land and waters.

  • Ok, eradicate the pot so that the locals to turn to selling meth and heroin. Great idea. There is no other industry in that region. Why do you think there is a suicide epidemic in the region? There are no jobs there, no economy, no money and no hope. I know the elders of the tribe think this is a good idea but please get your head out of the sand; for the young people of the tribe growing and trimming gives them some way to make a little money which is a whole lot better than the alternatives available. Sad, sad, sad.

    • There are many ways to grow plants of any kind without doing great harm to our extended family of nature.
      Poisoning, poaching and killing of living beings only hurts the community even more. I would like to see money go to help native folks establish and keep good healthy gardens that include food and many types of medicinal plants.

      From what i hear most of the grows in that area are cartel run. Who on the rez can afford to get an op like these going!?

      • You heard wrong none of the grows they bust are cartel run just hard working honest americans and most aren’t even on the reservation

    • You have the rest of the state to grow in why come to our little piece of heaven

    • shawn the fisherman

      Time to move and rethink ur income practices if that is all you have in life to earn from. Move where there are jobs thats what normal people do, Had to move for career many times its what big boys do to support their family. Try it some time.

      • Me too. I moved my career to Humboldt to grow dope and it’s been great. Been blowin it up hard….and loving it chief. Seeing haters like you make it that much sweeter, mmmmmm!

        • shawn the fisherman

          You are a criminal enterprise! Wait for it! Just wait they will come for you too. Better be ready? Paranoid much? You should be…

        • yeah? really winning hearts and minds with that nugget of self-promotion.

      • Barbara LaForest

        Thank you Yurok tribe,I just hear you radiated a grow around our summer place Hancorn Rd.We were hopeing someone would catch them. Now I can enjoy my summer.

  • What a bunch of hyprcrites, O’Rourke and his ilk use these raids to line their pockets with cash, quads, guns, tools, trucks, trailers, basically anything they can get their hands on all while ignoring all the meth and heroin houses in Weithpec. Not to mention the O’Rourke family has been growing weed for years.

  • Honeydew Bridge C.H.U.M.P.

    Marijuana is the emerald path to destruction and a life of hell.

    This raid has taken drugs away from being sold to children!

    Sad that some comments encourage that teachers, doctors, and other people to use drugs, distorting reality, and poisoning our children.

    I support deportation of anyone convicted of growing or dealing drugs.

    Deport these criminals to the sewer of Mexico like they’ve done to our country.

    Traffic in drugs? Go live in Mexico because you’re not wanted here ever again.

    Go back to your slums weed traffickers!

  • Plenty of dopers in trinidad and Westhaven too. Can we bust those assholes aswell please.

  • The Yurok Tribe has purchased Pearson’s store in Weitchpec and has made changes and upgrades, Reviews have been positive. The Tribe had been negotiating with Bill before his death. The Tribe has also purchased Bluff Creek Resort and is renovating upgrading and in general making it a nice, safe place to stay.
    They are creating jobs and trying to exert a constructive influence in the area by offering locals & visitors more & better options.
    Am I a tribal member? No. Do I know any of them? No. I remember some I met back in the 70s & 80s and they’re good memories.
    What I do is follow the news, including the FB page for the Tribe, same way I follow what the Hoopa Tribe is doing. A friend in France is involved in work with indigenous peoples (she’s a film maker) so I keep her informed.
    As far as the negative comments from others, I accept that that is what you think but it doesn’t mean I accept it.

  • Tribes fall under Federal jurisdictional law and last time I heard MJ is against Federal law.

    • shawn the fisherman

      Im all for growing some smoke but these criminal enterprises need to go.. They are just that a
      “Criminal Enterprise” Bring in the worst type of people…

      • I think CHUMP said it best recently;

        “People first came here and grew weed to escape the machine , now they are the machine”

        • I think hippies came out here to escape and started growing a little weed to support their lives. Then their kids took to growing and made it into this grow-bro/ guerrilla grower thing. They got gangster. I don’t see too many back to the landers riding around in jacked up trucks and poisoning rivers with synthetic fertilizers.

          • Honeydew Bridge C.H.U.M.P.

            Rap music is something you need to protect your children from.

            It’s straight up eugenics by design in Hollywood.

          • Team C.H.U.M.P.

            The last of the back to landers era was right before some of their kids started getting Nick Grey tattooed in old english.

  • Pot No
    Meth Yes!

    Thank you Tribal Council

    • It is interesting that there is no highly publicized yearly operation for amphetamines – but then it does seem like the local meth-labs of yesterday.. have been turned to butane-labs and weed production on over the top levels.

      So maybe they are being perfectly relevant for the resources available and obviousness of certain crimes.


    • Exactly. Short and to the point. These assholes bureaucrats are just like the asshole bureaucrats off the rez. They don’t give a shit about there people, only power.

  • What’s mind boggling about this is the tribe has said zero tolerance for a few years now. They have busted grows both on and off the reservation with a heavy hand and yet, people still grow there. Shit, why not grow in Fortuna?

  • Someday we will all find out that the honeydew bridge chump actually touches children. So good for you buddy

    • Team C.H.U.M.P.

      Why should Kym ban us, we don’t make comments like this. If he touched anything, seems like it was your nerve.

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