The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin said agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration entered their sovereign lands on Friday and improperly destroyed a crop of industrial hemp — but federal authorities said the crop was actually an illegal marijuana growing operation and some of the participants were not tribal members.
There were no arrests, and the investigation is ongoing, the DEA said.
The tribe legalized the growing of low THC non-psychotropic industrial hemp on its lands in May. In a statement Friday, Tribal Chairman Gary Besaw said the tribe had always intended to grow the crop legally for research purposes under the 2014 Farm Bill, which recognizes the distinction between marijuana and industrial hemp.
He said he was disappointed that federal authorities used “the full force of the DEA to raid our tribe.”
But Acting U.S. Attorney Gregory Haanstad told The Associated Press in a statement that he disagrees with Besaw’s characterization that the crop was industrial hemp. He said agents “executed federal search warrants on a large unlawful marijuana grow operation on tribal land and seized what agents describe as approximately 30,000 marijuana plants weighing a total of several thousand pounds.”
The DEA said the search warrant authorized agents to search a dwelling, an outbuilding and about 20 acres of land.
“The investigation into the marijuana fields revealed that individuals other than Menominee Tribe Members planted and were tending to the marijuana plants located on tribal land,” said Dennis Wichern, the special agent in charge of the DEA’s Chicago Field Division, which includes Wisconsin.
The tribe’s statement said there has been some disagreement over whether the crop is legal, and that the tribe had worked to resolve those issues, offering to take the disagreements to court and to destroy a portion of the crop that was considered a problem.
“These offers by the Tribe were rejected in favor of the aggressive unilateral action we saw today,” the tribe’s statement said. Litigation will have to settle the question of whether the tribe can grow industrial hemp, the tribe said.
Besaw added that the tribe was trying to meet its financial needs by researching the potential economic opportunities of industrial hemp.
Haanstad said the United States Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice respect the tribe’s sovereignty and will continue to work with federal, state, local and tribal partners to promote public safety on the reservation.
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9 thoughts on “DEA raids tribal land to destroy pot; tribe says it was hemp”
Tribal lands. Like they can’t do anything on their own land now.
Hell they should be able to build a missile silo on their land if they want.
Even if it was weed and not hemp. Big fckn deal.
Who was it hurting?
Fricking DEA must be short on work. Had to bottom feed on the native americans to justify their jobs.
What a bunch of leeches.
Hemp is very dangerous to many sects of the industrial complex.
No idea what the true nature of the “raid” was or the purpose it was to serve, be it as stated or sheer authoritarian; exerting dominance & another display of control.
those agents should have been scalped………..industrial hemp will turn our economy around
Can there be any more proof that these “agents” are anything but the evil we have been warned about? Demons running around trying to take peoples lives, prosperity, happiness, money, time, freedom… is there any doubt? EVIL MUST BE STAMPED OUT!
Obviously, there were negotiations that were ongoing, before the raid. The DEA chose to act like the BLM in Nevada, and the ATF in California, in recent years. Then they wonder why so many Americans despise them. But, my money says there are too many moving parts for them to figure it out.
Reservations used to be sovereign territory, but Injun traitors made a deal that allowed tribal cops to arrest people off the reservation, in exchange for letting US cops arrest people on the reservation, which in essence, ended their sovereignty.
Plenty of federal cops pulling weeds, but no one protecting the border. There’s no hope for any of us, or our children’s future as long as this government is allowed to rule, and continue destroying our country.
I am in no way defending the actions of the DEA which is an illegal organization but the Menominee Indians are already raking in the dough with their casino so I do not understand it’s financial needs that the crop was to help with. I was born and raised in southeastern Wisconsin and have been witness to the means used by them to take advantage of American’s for their own benefit.
The DEA is pathetic. I don’t know how those people sleep at night.
Yeah, you’re my freakin’ heroes — “protecting” us from people who (GASP!) want to get high without government permission! With marijuana instead of alcohol, no less! Oh, the horror!
No, the real horror is when any human being is made to suffer — with prison time, financial hardship, or otherwise — for a victimless “crime” based on stupid, arbitrary laws.
To the DEA and anyone else who contributes to drug enforcement in any way: F*** you!
Hemp or marijuana, it’s all the same.
We have the unalienable right to grow anything we choose. No one has the right to say otherwise.