A group of unknown, “heavily-armed” men dressed in camouflage have been dropping from helicopters into marijuana fields in Mendocino County in order to chop down plants and eradicate growing operations.
According to CBS San Francisco’s KPIX, one of the groups conducting such raids is private security contractor LEAR Asset Protection and Management. A LEAR spokesman acknowledged the group had conducted similar raids in Mendocino County over the last year.
However, medical marijuana grower Susan Schindler told KPIX that a group of men who used helicopters to raid her field last month refused to identify themselves.
“There was no paperwork, there were no copies of any warrants, there were no inventories left of what they took,” Schindler said.
Schindler also said she is following all county regulations regarding her grow site, and that the field of marijuana she was growing had no street value.
“The irony is that this whole garden that was destroyed was not a garden that would get you high,” she told KPIX.
LEAR President Paul Truitt said his company was not involved in any way in the raid on Schindler’s property. Thus, the question remains: who chopped down Schindler’s marijuana plants?
Mendocino County sheriff Tom Allman acknowledged that the sheriff’s office had conducted raids in the area of Schindler’s farm, and on the same day, but maintained that officers wear badges and regularly identify themselves before a raid.
“The sheriff’s office does not hire any private security guards to go out and do our job,” Allman told KPIX. “I think that there are some people who may become paranoid this time of year.”
This is not the first instance of authorities or others using helicopters to take down marijuana fields. Last month, drug investigators used a helicopter to airlift nearly 4,000 marijuana plants out of the Laguna Wilderness Park in Orange County.