Cali Congressman Takes Bulldozer to Asian-Run Grow Ops
Back in May, one Northern California sheriff’s office requested volunteers to assist in bulldozing some of the cannabis greenhouses that have recently been appearing in troves on private property in a small region of the remote countryside via Facebook.
Within a week, the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office had a shocking volunteer: the local congressman.
Last Wednesday, the office of U.S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa released several YouTube videos featuring the Richvalue Republican visiting the grow sites, discussing the issues with local officials, and hopping up into a yellow bulldozer to tear the greenhouses down as part of a court-ordered abatement.
“I love the smell of diesel power in the afternoon. It smells like victory,” LaMalfa said in one of the videos. This is a line taken from the Vietnam War movie “Apocalypse Now.”
LaMalfa’s office claimed that the congressman took part in and released this footage to showcase the environmental issues, human trafficking, organized crime, and squalid living conditions that these illegal cannabis grow operations bring to Siskiyou County.
However, advocates of the Siskiyou County cultivators, mostly of Hmong and Chinese ancestry, believe that these videos have come at the worst time possible.
“It sounds like a divisive message that’s likely to inflame the tensions instead of making them better,” explained J. Raza Lawrence, an attorney acting on behalf of the Hmong growers, many of whom have ancestors who’d fought for the U.S. during the Vietnam War.
Ordinances have been passed to keep water trucks from delivering to the grow operations. This is especially problematic for those that lack running water or sewage services. The sheriff has informed deliverers of soil and other cultivation supplies to grow operations that if they continue supplying the grow sites, they could face aiding and abetting charges.
The cultivators in this region also accuse firefighters of refusing the fight the Lava Fire, allowing it to torch several of the grow sites throughout the Big Springs area. Sheriff Jeremiah LaRue claims that the firefighters could not help the situation because the cultivators had the roads blocked, tossed rocks at the firefighters, and threatened them, which forced Cal Fire to leave the area.
As the fire blazed on, a 35-year-old Hmong man from Kansas was shot by police officers. This occurred near a checkpoint at the Mount Shasta Vista subdivision following the man pointing and firing a gun at them. However, this investigation continues to uncover the truth about the shooting.
At this point, the cultivators have lawyer representation that’s seeking a restraining order and injunction against the county to cease enforcement for an ordinance that demands permits to bring water in. They also filed some new documents in federal court last week in Sacramento based on the claim that the farmers could not get water to sustain their food crops or take showers due to the ordinance.
A hearing for this issue is scheduled for early August.