Subjects of Mendocino County pot raids still seeking answers

Glenda Anderson, Press Democrat

Mendocino County marijuana growers who lost their crops to unidentified pot eradicators this summer are no closer to knowing for certain who destroyed their plants, according to a San Francisco attorney seeking answers to questions about the raids.

Attorney Joe Elford made a Public Records Act request several weeks ago asking for details about marijuana eradication activities from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office — which was conducting and participating in pot raids at the time — but it was largely rebuffed by the Mendocino County Counsel’s Office, which said the request was too broad and vague, he said Thursday.

Raids on marijuana gardens in the Laytonville and Potter Valley areas raised concerns among marijuana growers that they had been conducted by an anti-pot vigilante group, rather than law enforcement. No evidence of vigilantism has surfaced, but some of the affected people and medical marijuana advocates still want to know exactly who conducted the raids. In some cases, no one was home and there was nothing left behind to indicate who was responsible.

“People do deserve to know who’s conducting these raids,” said Kris Hermes, of Americans for Safe Access.

Elford said the county was being “evasive” in denying most of his request for information. He said he will attempt to work with the county to clarify his request.

Sheriff Tom Allman referred questions about the response to the county’s attorney, but said, as he has several times before, that the raids are not so mysterious.

“I know that my guys were in the area operating and eradicating marijuana,” he said.

On one day during the period in question, more than 2,600 plants were eradicated from at least 15 sites, sheriff’s officials said earlier. All the gardens were out of compliance with the county’s medical marijuana regulations, officials said.

County regulations include limiting the number of pot plants that can be grown to a maximum of 25 per parcel and requiring medical recommendations.