Marijuana growers in Northern California’s Emerald Triangle have for decades received reports of pending police raids from a local radio station. Now the police, citing a boom in pot production and “armed illegal drug traffickers,” want the broadcasts to stop.
As pot growers in Humboldt and Mendocino counties launch another growing season, local, state and federal law enforcement agents are preparing for their part of the annual ritual — deploying helicopters, trucks and armed agents to seize marijuana plants, reports Michael Montgomery at NPR
”According to a citizen’s observation, at 8:45 a.m., three helicopters were seen heading from Laytonville to Bell Spring Road,” Garberville radio station KMUD recently broadcast.
|KMUD Program Director Marianne Knorzer: “We’re just giving the public an awareness”
Reports like this one warn the station’s listeners, including both medical and illegal pot farmers, to the movements of police and drug agents. Ending the segment, the female announcer said, “To report sightings such as these, you can call the civil liberties monitoring project” at a local number.
The reports are among the most popular broadcasts on southern Humboldt County’s KMUD. The warnings began after the Reagan Administration in 1983 ramped up the huge, wasteful and ineffective CAMP (Campaign Against Marijuana Planting) raids
in the area, known as the center of marijuana cultivation in California.
Ordinary families have been terrorized by paramilitary units, peaceful homeowners have been repeatedly buzzed by low-flying helicopters, and community relations between citizens and law enforcement have suffered just about everywhere CAMP laid its heavy hand.
|Photo: Pro Libertate
|Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman wants the drug raid broadcasts to stop
The broadcasts fit in with the station’s commitment to progressive politics, government accountability and public safety, according to KMUD program director Marianna Knorzer.
“We’re not broadcasting their whole operations,” Knorzer said. “We’re just giving the public an awareness that there are 10 trucks heading down a very narrow road with one-lane portions of it, with tight turns. Again, our reports are quite benign.”
Apparently the sheriff would feel a lot better if there were no public oversight at all of his department’s operations against the people of Mendocino — it sure would make things a lot easier while they’re busy busting peaceful marijuana farmers and potheads, and ignoring real crimes.
Allman recently met with representatives from both KMUD and the local citizens group that gathers the reports on police activities.
|Photo: Pro Libertate
|Thanks to KMUD, you may get a chance to find out when these guys are on the way
The sheriff acknowledged past abuses by police and expressed wariness about federal drug operations, trying to strike a conciliatory note.
“I don’t like Black Hawks in my county,” Allman said, referring to the helicopters used by federal agents who go all Rambo every year in their paramilitary-style CAMP raids. “I really don’t.”
Sheriff Allman claimed KMUD’s broadcasts on police operations are now an “anachronism,” since police supposedly now have “respect” for legal pot growers.
But KMUD’s Knorzer said suspicions about the Drug War still run high among local residents, and that the station doesn’t plan to drop the reports.
“I can’t ever imagine that happening,” she said.