Wednesday, August 13, 2008


The California Department of Justice spent at least $347,000 in its
role in the weeklong drug raid dubbed Operation Southern Sweep in June.

The operation brought about 450 federal, state and local law
enforcement personnel together to bust an alleged commercial
marijuana grow operation connected to a single group in Humboldt
County between June 24 and 28.

According to a public records request by The Eureka Reporter for the
costs incurred in Operation Southern Sweep, the DOJ allocated
$347,202 toward the operation.

Of that, an estimated $131,574 was spent on personnel, $183,894 on
overtime, $26,283 in expenses, such as travel and lodging, and $5,451
on equipment, the request response stated.

Salary costs are based on the total hours worked by sworn officers at
the Special Agent top pay grade ($7,341 a month) and the middle pay
grade for non-sworn personnel.

The salary costs do not include any incurred by management personnel
because the time spent on specific projects is not maintained for
these employees, though the costs are estimated to be nominal, the
request response stated.

The Eureka Reporter also sent out Freedom of Information Act requests
to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Postal Service, Drug
Enforcement Agency and Internal Revenue Service -- all agencies
involved in the operation.

The IRS denied the request, as the records could not be found.

Even if found, the IRS stated in a response letter that the
information would be exempt from public disclosure on a number of
grounds, including a claim that disclosure would "reveal law
enforcement techniques, procedures and guidelines protected" by the
Freedom of Information Act.

The Eureka Reporter plans to appeal the decision as allowed under the
Freedom of Information Act.

The FBI denied an initial request for information, stating that any
request of this nature should be directed to a field office.

Another request sent to the FBI San Francisco Field Office has
garnered no response.

The FBI couldn't be reached for comment.

Requests to the U.S. Postal Service and DEA are still pending.

Agents raided 23 locations across the county during the sweep,
including two large chunks of property.

The raids mainly occurred in Southern Humboldt, in areas including
Redway, Whitethorn and Garberville.

Agents also raided one alleged grow house in Arcata.

The operation was the result of a two-year investigation by the DOJ,
and netted about 16,000 marijuana plants, $200,000 in cash and 53
firearms, which included assault rifles.

No arrests have been made as of yet, but officials said in past
interviews that it could take months before anyone behind the
commercial grows is brought before a judge.

Pubdate: Wed, 13 Aug 2008
Source: Eureka Reporter, The (CA)
Copyright: 2008 The Eureka Reporter
Author: John C. Osborn
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)

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