Pubdate: Mon, 13 Jul 2015
Source: Record Searchlight (Redding, CA)
Copyright: 2015 Record Searchlight
Author: Joe Szydlowski


ALTURAS. California - The Pit River tribe says its massive marijuana 
grow near Alturas, was entirely medicinal, compliant with the law and 
had higher standards than California requires.

"The Pit River Tribe is very experienced at operating within highly 
regulated industries," said Mickey Gemmill, Jr., the tribal chairman, 
in a news release. "We've managed a well-regulated gaming facility 
for 19 years and felt very comfortable creating a robust regulatory 
environment for the medical marijuana program."

Pit River's grow site, at the XL Ranch, was one of two authorities 
raided Wednesday in Modoc County. According to U.S. Attorney's 
officials, they seized more than 12,000 marijuana plants combined and 
more than 100 pounds of marijuana.

No one has been charged in connection to the grow.

In the news release, Pit River officials say they complied with the 
federal rules established Oct. 28 that, if followed, meant no raids 
on tribal property

They said they also took further measures to ensure strict regulation 
of the plants. Workers tagged each plant with both the identity of 
the patient it is for and a serial number to track it, according to 
the news release.

They also said they have been transparent with local, state and 
federal officials, Gemmill said.

"We asked the U.S. Attorney's office to identify any concerns and to 
advise the tribal government before taking any enforcement action 
against the tribal project," he said.

However, in a letter to an attorney representing the tribe, the 
Attorney's office explicitly states it doesn't think it has to tell 
them in advance of any action.

The tribe maintains the grow was a medicinal one. However, in an 
affidavit asking for a search warrant, Bureau of Indian Affairs 
special agent Charles Turner said the grow plans were on a massive scale.

Two confidential witnesses told him the site would eventually house 
40,000 to 60,000 plants in 40 different greenhouses. It also had a 
fence and private security on site.

In the raid, all the marijuana was destroyed, and medical marijuana 
users' documents were seized, Gemmill said.

"This action was especially appalling given that some tribal members 
were subjected to excessive police force, severely injured and 
arrested during the search," he said.

The tribe plans "to have conversations in the coming days with the 
Department of Justice and the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs."

The Pit River's XL Ranch site was one of two properties authorities 
raided July 8. Local and federal authorities also raided the Alturas 
Indian Rancheria's grow at the event center next to the Desert Rose Casino.
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