Fed Raid Rumors Spark Panic

Fed Raid Rumors Spark Panic
Posted by CN Staff on June 25, 2008 at 04:28:28 PT
By Thadeus Greenson, The Times-Standard
Source: Times-Standard
California -- A swarm of federal agents arrived in Humboldt County this week to carry out a massive marijuana sting operation, but rumors of their arrival preceded them, and reportedly sparked a bit of panic in some segments of the community. It was the talk of local blogs, left at least one local dispensary answering frantic calls from harried customers and prompted a flurry of activity in some sectors.
Several local businesses, which asked not to be singled out by name, described a swift business in moving truck rentals over the last week -- apparently, in some cases, to move pot grows. In fact, almost no one wanted to have their name used in this story. ”It's like a mass hysteria,” said a woman who answered the phone at Arcata's Humboldt Patient Resource Center. She said she yielded numerous calls from concerned patients wondering if they would get in trouble for their personal grows, but didn't want her name used. The rumors and uncertainty in the days before Tuesday's actions, she said, made a lot of people nervous. Over at the Arcata iCenter, another medical marijuana dispensary, owner Stephen Gasparas told a different story. Gasparas conceded that the rumors seemed to take on a life of their own, but said most in town who keep in tune with the spirit of Proposition 215 weren't very worried. He said the Arcata Center had received a few calls, but nothing too out of the ordinary in the lead up to this week's federal activity. A number of local growers, all of whom requested anonymity because they feared being the target of law enforcement action, said they cleaned up their grow rooms and pulled plants last week after hearing rumors of federal agents coming to town. ”It's better to be safe than sorry,” one said. Another said he was going to spend this week camping in the mountains, “just in case.” A number of employees at moving truck rental outlets throughout town said they often suspect their rentals are used to transport marijuana, and that they have been especially busy over the last week. ”We actually -- about a week and a half ago -- had quite the inventory,” said one employee. “Then, they were just all gone. It was really fast.” Other employees said they are often surprised by growers who rent the trucks, but give little effort to covering their tracks. Several said it's common to have a truck returned that hasn't been cleaned and still has marijuana leaves and other evidence in it. For rentals, companies require the renter's credit card and contact information and charge a $25 cleaning fee for trucks returned dirty, employees said, but that doesn't seem to be much of a deterrent. Some employees also said they don't think the federal activity this week will have much of a lasting affect, and they still expect a run on rental trucks in the fall, the outdoor harvest season for marijuana. ”It's not going to change,” one employee said. Staff Writer Donna Tam contributed to this report. Source: Times-Standard (Eureka, CA)Author: Thadeus Greenson, The Times-Standard Published: June 25, 2008Copyright: 2008 MediaNews Group, Inc. Contact: editor times-standard.comWebsite: Article: Major Sting Targets Commercial Grow Op -- Cannabis Archives
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