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Illegal pot farm found on Northern California tribal land

May 7, 2020 GMT

COVELO, Calif. (AP) — Ten people were held after authorities found thousands of marijuana plants being grown illegally on an American Indian reservation in Northern California, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday.

Investigators on Tuesday raided a growing operation at the Round Valley Indian Reservation and found 55 plastic greenhouses along with swimming pools set up to water the plants, along with waste such as burned household trash and chemicals used in pot cultivation, according to a Sheriff’s Office statement.

Deputies destroyed more than 22,000 plants ranging from 1 foot to 4 feet tall, officials said.

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The sheriff and staff have met “numerous times” with the Tribal Council about “non-native persons” setting up large marijuana growing operations on the reservation, the Sheriff’s Office said.

“Community members, including many of the tribal elders, have voiced their fear about this activity as there has been a marked increase in gunfire and acts of intimidation associated with the large marijuana gardens,” the office said.

A 69-year-old Covelo man and a 24-year-old man from Monroe, Washington were arrested but released without posting cash bail under state Judicial Council rules designed to limit the number of people in jails to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, authorities said.

Eight other people were identified and released and their cases will be sent to the county district attorney’s office for possible prosecution, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

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