An aerial view of the Sherwood Valley Rancheria in California. Image: Google Earth

Sherwood Valley Band calls in authorities to take down marijuana operation

Tribal, local and federal authorities raided a marijuana operation on the Sherwood Valley Rancheria in northern California.

According to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, authorities destroyed 2,421 marijuana plants and seized more than 700 pounds of processed marijuana on Tuesday morning. Six people were arrested in an action that was sanctioned by the Sherwood Valley of Pomo Indians and carried out with the assistance of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

“The tribal council was upset about it,” Sgt. Bruce Smith told The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat.

A tribal citizen who lives on the reservation told The Mendocino Voice that a fellow citizen was responsible for the operation. She said the individual was renting land from other citizens in order to grow more and more marijuana, bringing in non-Indians to help out.

“This one guy, he ***** it up for everybody," the resident, who grows a small amount of marijuana on her land, told the paper. Grows of 25 or fewer plans are typically not prosecuted in the county.

The county has raided marijuana operations on tribal land in the past. In those situations, the plants were being grown by the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians and by the Pinoleville Pomo Nation rather that individuals.

The Hopland Band has since submitted a damages claim to the county for destroying its crops in the September 2016 raid. The Pinoleville Pomo Nation has done the same in connection with a September 2015 raid.

States typically cannot exercise authority in Indian Country but California is different because it falls under Public Law 280. The termination-era law grants criminal and civil jurisdiction to the state.

Read More on the Story:
MCSO raids more than 20 marijuana gardens on tribal land in Willits (The Ukiah Daily Journal 7/26)
Marijuana seized on Pomo tribal land near Willits (The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat 7/26)
COMMET cuts down nearly 2500 plants on Sherwood Rancheria (The Mendocino Voice 7/27)

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