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Northern California Indian Nations Protest Pot Raids

Bill Weinberg

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Tribal authorities in Northern California are reacting angrily to a July 8 raid on two cannabis grows on tribal lands in Modoc County. The operations were owned by the Alturas Indian Rancheria and the Pit River Tribe.

Leaders of Alturas Rancheria released a statement last week, saying they had tried several times to reach out to the U.S. Attorney's Office as they launched their Medical Marijuana Program, which they asserted complied with state law. The statement also said the tribe coordinated with local agencies.

"The Tribe laid everything out for the local authorities to consider," tribal chairman Phillip Del Rosa explained. "We told local officials that 'if some aspect of the project concerns you, let us know and we will work with you to address your concerns.'"

Officers from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, as well as the Drug Enforcement Administration, participated in the raids.

According to the Sacramento Bee, the feds had been prompted to act by an Alturas tribal member.

"The tribe is acting as a beard for private operators who are attempting to use the medical marijuana law of this state and tribal sovereignty for massive personal profit," Wendy Del Rosa wrote assistant U.S. attorney Philip Ferrari in a letter dated May 27.

Tribal leaders responded by saying Wendy Del Rosa (sister of Alturas Rancheria chariman Phillip Del Rosa) is a "disgruntled ex-employee" of the tribe who had been fired in September 2014.

(Photo Courtesy of U.S. Attorney's Office)

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