UKIAH — Funding for law enforcement’s continued work of cutting down cannabis in Mendocino County comes from a variety of sources, including state programs, federal grants, and local taxes. What ordinary citizens might imagine as one flow of money, is actually several streams that come together. And each one of these streams requires its own application process, and these applications processes can also give the ordinary Mendonesian a bit of a glimpse into the operation of the weed pulling system deployed.
One piece of this pie was revealed during the November 14 board of supervisors meeting, when a $215,000 application for a federal Department of Justice grant submitted by Sheriff Tom Allman for the County of Mendocino Marijuana Eradication Team (COMMET) was retroactively approved as part of the consent calendar, though CEO Carmel Angelo had signed off on an emergency application in August.
In the funding application Allman outlines the team’s main goals, and lists specific items the requested money will be used for, including overtime pay, storage and supplies, and the restoration of a Marijuana Overflight Marijuana Identification School which teaches law enforcement officers from around the country how to identify pot gardens from the air. The document also provides insight into the MCSO’s philosophy and approach to getting rid of cannabis and how it has shifted over time. For this funding cycle, COMMET’s stated objectives are to investigate butane honey oil (BHO) facilities, continue several ongoing investigations, and to work with Fish & Wildlife officials identifying illegal water diversions to cannabis gardens.
COMMET is staffed with personnel from the sheriff’s office, and its stated mission is to destroy trespass grows, and, more recently, BHO operations, identified by the sheriff in the funding application as a danger to public safety. The team works closely with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the state’s Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP), Homeland Security, US Forest Service, and the National Guard, as well as county’s air quality agency and the Mendocino Environmental Health Department.
Funding requests over $50,001 require approval by county supervisors, but the County CEO can make an exception for an urgency, as Allman notes in his Aug 9. letter to Mendocino County CEO Carmel Angelo. The letter cites county policy that allows the CEO to sign off on such applications if a time restriction limits the department from going to the board, and as long as that department takes the item to the supervisors at the next available meeting. Allman wrote the DOJ’s “Domestic Cannabis Eradication Program” had changed their funding cycle for 2016-2017, from a calendar year to a fiscal one, and that MCSO needed to stay in the running for program funds, although he wouldn’t know if any were awarded until after the funding cycle.
The final application was signed by Allman on August 16, along with Angelo, Deputy CEO Alan Flora, and a deputy of County Counsel Katharine Elliott. A supervisors’ meeting took place that day but there was no request from MCSO on the agenda.
According to the application, in 2016 COMMET seized 152,128 marijuana plants and seized $11,420, along with 1,537 lbs of processed marijuana from 62 sites. The agency made 38 arrests and seized 30 firearms, two vehicles, all from outdoor or light deprivation cannabis gardens. Only 5% of the raids were carried out on public lands, while 95% were on private property. Indoor grows accounted for 10% of the activity, while 90% of the grows were outdoor.
Allman writes that the number of plants seized increased in 2016 — although gardens had fewer plants than in previous years; some had several hundred plants, and some had multiple sites that were difficult to connect. Law enforcement officers continued to discover BHO operations, and noticed an increase in light dep greenhouses and a move from trespass grows to cultivation on privately owned properties. “In 2015 four out of the five homicides investigated by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office were related to marijuana cultivation related activities,” Allman states.
The $215,000 budget request includes a breakdown of requests, including: $100,000 for aviation, $50,000 for “miscellaneous commercial contracts,” $44,000 for storage & space rental, $10,000 for overtime pay, $5,000 for clothing & protective gear (such as burlap sacks, pruning shears, “special raid clothing,” and gloves), $3,000 for equipment, $2,000 for supplies and materials, and $1,000 for training.
Last year, the California National Guard provided three days of reconnaissance overflight training, but this year, the sheriff says he would like to re-commence a two-week DEA-sponsored Marijuana Identification Overflight School at the Ukiah Municipal Airport. The sheriff’s office and the DEA first designed this program in 1989 to train law enforcement officers, including federal, state, and local agents, in aerial marijuana identification techniques. COMMET would then use the data gathered by the students in identifying sites to conduct raids throughout the following raid season.
COMMET staff currently consists of Sheriff Sergeant Bruce Smith and Deputy Sheriff Jeremy Mason, plus a reserve deputy during peak raid season and Deputy Sheriff Jeffrey Andrade, who is temporarily assigned from the patrol division for 3 – 4 months. Allman writes that in the last year, COMMET also used six part time Deputy Sheriffs from the detective unit, five special agents from the Major Crimes Task Force, along with additional deputies borrowed from the patrol and investigative units “during peak raid season.” Allman writes that, although more marijuana plants were cut down in 2016 than in 2015, this sharing of resources “was costly in overtime and diminished the typical operations of the patrol division and the investigative units.” COMMET also uses an unspecified number of 4×4 vehicles, all terrain vehicles, a dump truck, and an industrial chipper. Undersheriff Randy Johnson, who administered the revised 9.31 cannabis cultivation program this year, is listed as the Agency Training Coordinator.
Allman states in his application for the Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program (DCE/SP) funds that last year, when COMMET received only $60,000 from the program and there was no training school, the size and number of trespass grows increased significantly. He goes on, “Due to the sheer number of trespass grow sites, COMMET has had a limited time to focus on small ranch grows.” But he does not mention other factors that could have caused a growth, such as the continuing green rush, or the fact that legalization was widely expected and did in fact pass.
In the grant Allman elaborates on how COMMET approaches cannabis raids in Mendocino County, stating the county’s well-known reputation as a cultivation region has caused a “new gold rush” that is straining law enforcement resources. Writing that “misinformation” about medical cannabis laws contribute to the county’s situation, Allman says Mendocino has two kinds of cultivators — those on large trespass grows on public lands or private, mostly timber, lands, and those who are openly growing on private property “under the guise of growing it for medical purposes,” with less than 200 plants.
The sheriff says that the county has a problem with “Crime Families” from outside the area who recruit undocumented migrant workers who are armed and told to attack under deadly threat from their employers — though he does not elaborate on who these crime families might be. Allman added that over time these cultivators have moved their operations to private lands that they rent or own, and that past pressure from COMMET “has forced some of the original marijuana cultivations to build elaborate indoor growing operations.”
The sooner we get rid of the Cole memo the better..
The sooner you and your ilk are rid of the better for humanity.
More government waste.
Jesus specifically told his disciples to “anoint” people. That anointing took place using a specific formula made from a recipe found in the Old Testament book of Exodus.
That recipe (Exodus 30:23) includes about 6 pounds of “kaneh-bosen”.
According to many biblical scholars, “kaneh-bosen” was/is Cannabis (Marijuana).
Most of the diseases mentioned as being healed miraculously after anointing are, curiously, the same ones that cannabis can heal today. Things like epilepsy, leprosy, and “crooked limbs” (an obvious reference to multiple sclerosis).
23 Moreover, the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even 250 shekels, and of qaneh-bosm [cannabis] 250 shekels, 24 And of cassia 500 shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin: 25 And thou shalt make it an oil of holy anointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil. 26 And thous shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and the ark of the testimony, 27 And the table and all his vessels, and the candlestick and his vessels, and the altar of incense, 28 And the altar of burnt offerings with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot. 29 And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy.
Carl Ruck, professor of classical mythology at Boston University: “There can be little doubt about a role for cannabis in Judaic religion.”
Basílica Cattedrale di Santa Maria Nuova di Monreale, Sicily (12th century) Jesus heals two blind men on the road to Jericho:
Still being researched in Israel.
So disappointed in “urgent” allotment of funds being used to destroy rather than learn, understand, protect, grow and heal. This is such a waste of time and money.
Give it up already, are U afraid you will lose your jobs. Don’t worry U can always grow cannabis Ha-Ha Fuck-Tards
Come up with some regulations and a tax structure, and hire compliance officers. That is how you enforce and weave out disruptive cultivators. Don’t waste county money. Taxes from growing will help local economy emensily.
More money for flying planes and raiding public property is an absolute waste and sounds like lawenforcement recreation. Employ a few people to visit properties to
Check compliance. Do waste money outfitting 10 guys in swat gear to cut down potential county tax profits
70 percent of the people in the u.s. approve marijuana for medical reasons and its a little over 50 percent in favor for recrational so why are they still acting like its some crazy criminal act to grow marijuana. Like they are the last line of defense that keeps marijuana from totally destroying society. You still got these guys kicking in peoples doors, shooting their pets, thrashing their houses, kidnapping them, imprisoning them, and then demanding ransom through a bailsbondsman before your let out. Over a siteable misdemeanor posession charge. Ridiculous, if i did something like that id get 25 to life. Id like somebody to find out the end result of all these raids such as what was seized vs. The cost of the actual raid. I bet the means do not justify the end. Ive heard of two recent raids where they pulled all the stops even brought in the armored tank with 25 law men and they only found a box of ammo. There is alot of other negative effects these raids cause towards members of our community. There are times when the officers will use the cps and tell a mother she needs to tell on her husband and if she doesn’t shes an unfit mother and they will have her kids taken. Not to mention alot of time the suspects lose their homes, their savings bailing out , aswell pay for a lawyer, and sometimes their jobs all because of these raids. And this is all before being proved guilty in a court of law. When people are sentenced its based on the debt one owes society for his crimes. I believe the ones who are suppose to serve and protect have more of a negative impact on society and family more than these drug users and pot growers. Seems like we need to reevaluate our whole system because its pretty sorry when your paying more a day to house a prisoner than we pay our teachers. Another thing is this color of law these coos are operating with lately intimidating people into giving up their rights and busting them. For instance i was walking down the street the other day comming back from safeway in lake co. At around 9am when a sheriff pulls over and starts harassing me telling me im being detained because as he was driving by he could tell i was under the influence on drugs. So he precedes to grab my wrist while yelling at me ” when did i do drugs last ” i informed him I dont use drugs he informed me that im a liar. After this guy searches me ,handcuffs me and puts me in the back of his cop car and tells me i have to go take a drug test and im going to jail , after all this harrassment he lets me go and i quote ” sorry to upset you were not trying to do that out here in lake .Co” amazing. This officer was trying to get me to believe if i was honest with him and told him that id done drugs at all he was going to help me out and take me to the station fir a drug test them just give me a ticket based on the results of the test, but if i refused he was taking me sttaight to jail. So it be better for me if i just did as he said and provided evidence against myself atleadt i wouldnt have to go to jail that day……… The funny part is him first asking me for i.d. is not legal based on a driveby drug evaluation of me which was def. Profiling since i had tattoo’s, there was no other indication that would lead someone to believe i was high as he put it. Unless of course you also had his phenomenal skills at knowing if one was on drugs at a glance or not. Then detainig me on that suspision alone is ridiculous , he wasnt investigating a crime his suspision was his opinion of me based on my appearance. I told him repeatedly i was not operating a motor viechle nor was I on probation . Even after having to produce my papers to this elite member of the nazi ss and my name and information comming back as i stated he still cuffed me and put me in the car with more of his threats of if i didnt do a drug test for him i was going to jail i held my ground because i knew we still have rights with the abilty to travel unmolested without being accused assualted and bullied into providing evidence against ourselves. He eventually pulled me out of the car and checked my pulse again because he apparently is a doctor aswell as a nazi and informed me I could go because my pulse went down. That is not serving and protecting if another man came at me like that he better have brought a lunch cuz were boxing.
But since this sociopath was giving a badge and freerange to carry out his sadistic games on u.s. citizens I just had to swallow my pride and shed a tear for how bad our country has gotten and what we allow ourselves to be subjected to for a false sence of security. Dont fall for the tricks or cops operating under color of law or twisting words with their semantics. Know your rights but be respectful in the process.