Cover Story: Unanswered questions on $1M Yurok theft

"It was shortly after 4 a.m., still 2 ½ hours before dawn on Monday, Oct. 24, 2011, and Roland Raymond was behind the wheel of his new Chevy Tahoe. In front of him, dual cones of light spread across the black asphalt rushing beneath and brushed the thick forests whizzing past. Raymond, who had recently been fired from the Yurok Tribe after 17 years as its forestry program director, was zooming northbound through the hills of Southern Humboldt, hugging the curvy contours of Hwy. 101 as it crisscrossed the Eel River. He was 11 miles north of Garberville when the California Highway Patrol pulled him over.

In the mug shot taken later that morning, Raymond, who was a few weeks shy of his 49th birthday, looks like a zombie. Bony cheekbones protrude from his wan face, his mouth hangs slightly open, and his eyes stare blankly into the middle distance. According to the CHP he’d been driving — speeding, actually — while under the influence of a controlled substance. In his Tahoe the arresting officer allegedly found an undisclosed amount of a controlled substance, drug paraphernalia and more than an ounce of marijuana.

These are serious allegations, for which Raymond has yet to be charged. (The Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office is still reviewing the case.) But he had bigger problems on his plate. Much bigger. Raymond had been fired three weeks earlier for failing to report for work after three months of family medical leave. Shortly after, Yurok Tribe Executive Director Troy Fletcher contacted the Del Norte County District Attorney’s Office to report some serious suspicions about Raymond. A tribal employee named Forrest Gregg had discovered that seven Apple iPads purchased by Raymond were missing, and a closer look revealed much larger irregularities."

Get the Story:
The Yurok Grift (The North Coast Journal 4/12)

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