Sheriff Approved Grower Latest Target in Federal Pot Crackdown

Northstone Organics owner Matthew Cohen confirmed Thursday that federal authorities raided his Redwood Valley home, which doubles as the cooperative’s medical marijuana garden and office.

“They came in, guns blazing,” Cohen said of the Thursday morning raid. “They calmed down and were pleasant at the end, but they came in with machine guns.”

The agents arrived at 6 a.m., handcuffed Cohen and his wife and stayed until about 2 p.m., taking 99 marijuana plants, computers and testing equipment, according to Cohen. He said the agents threatened to file federal charges against him, but made no arrests during the raid.

Responding to early reports about the raid, the DEA confirmed only that it was conducting enforcement operations at a Ukiah home.

DEA spokeswoman Casey McEnry said Thursday that the operations were ongoing at about noon, and that she could not reveal further information because the documents were under court seal.

California NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) reported Thursday morning that Northstone Organics was raided, and called the cooperative “a pioneering participant in Mendocino County’s innovative zip-tie program to license medical marijuana gardens.”

The program, through the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, issues zip ties to growers whose marijuana gardens meet state and county guidelines for medical grows, so the growers can affix them to the plants to show compliance.

Local authorities, including the MCSO and Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force, knew of marijuana enforcement operations in the Ukiah Valley Thursday morning but did not confirm the location.

“They destroyed our house and eradicated everything,” Cohen said.

He said there were six federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents, a state Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement agent and a Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office deputy, who Cohen said “didn’t know what he was walking into here.”

Cohen has a medical marijuana cooperative permit and zip ties from the Sheriff’s Office, and was among the first of local growers to get the permit under the county’s new Medical Marijuana Program.

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1 Comment

  1. Bob Marshall

    October 27, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Aren’t we fortunate that the US troops are protecting the poppy fields in Afghanistan so drugs can flow in to the US in record numbers.

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