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Pot Sweep Costs DOJ $347,000

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
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.

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Source: The Eureka Reporter
Copyright: 2008 The Eureka Reporter
Contact: Contacts | The Eureka Reporter
Website: Pot sweep costs DOJ $347,000 | The Eureka Reporter
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