Mendocino County Sheriff's Captain Randy Johnson is being investigated by the Sheriff's Office after federal agents discovered 500 pot plants growing on property owned by Capt. Johnson and his father, Johnny Johnson, during an October 11 raid by the DEA, FBI, and IRS. The inquiry is just one of numerous cannabis cases involving Mendocino County officials or members of their families in recent years.
It's the non-complicity of the feds that motivated Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman to initiate the internal investigation, which will be handled by Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas to provide objectivity.
Sheriff Allman told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat he was “stonewalled” by the feds after they curiously refused to reveal who or what was the catalyst for the raid – nor did they make any arrests despite the 500 plants seized. Even more frustrating, the search warrant records remain sealed.
“I want to know the facts ... The federal government has not told me one thing, and I need to know if there's any validity to it,” Allman told the Press Democrat.
Sheriff Allman added that he'd expect the feds to have notified him if Capt. Johnson or any member of his department was a suspect in a crime. Thus far Allman has received no such notification.
One bit of information leaked was that the raid was conducted on the portion of the property exclusively owned by Capt. Johnson's father, Johnny. According to the 80-year-old, he has “never seen any pot growing.”
Adding another intriguing twist to this case is the fact Capt. Johnson has been at the forefront of crafting Mendocino County's progressive medical pot program that allows each patient to grow up to 99 plants legally.
Noted cannabis defense attorney Bill Panzer speculated that the raid might represent federal retribution against Johnson for his medical pot advances. And one local law enforcement official said cops have suspected for a long time that pot was growing on the Johnson property but did not act because of Capt. Johnson's ranking in the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department.
Clearly, this is a case that has raised more questions than it has provided answers. Perhaps Sheriff Allman's forthright attempts at getting to the bottom of this deliberate federal obstruction will provide pertinent revelations.