Some growers in part of California’s fertile Emerald Triangle are worried that private military contractors are invading their property and taking marijuana plants.

One Mendocino County woman, Susan Schindler, told the Bay Area’s KPIX 5 television station that men descended from a hovering helicopter and took her legal, medical marijuana plants without any warrants or invoices of what they flew away with.

She claimed she was working under county rules that allow 25 plants per parcel. Her pot was legit, she said, but these guys, who didn’t identify themselves, were not.

Schindler is concerned that whoever these people were targeted her because she was an easy target who wouldn’t fight back.

The TV station tracked down a private security company called Lear Asset Management, which says it has indeed worked for property owners in the area to clean up drug and grow sites.

But the company did not take credit for the Schindler raid. It’s harvest season in the Emerald Triangle, and some are worried about armed drug dealers.

A story earlier this summer in the Mendocino Beacon outlined what Lear does — clean up sites for fearful land owners. Some ultra-rural plots of land are taken over by drug organizations for grows.

And a local sheriff’s official told KPIX that the claims of private security forces in military garb acting as police in his community don’t add up, though. “There’s some people who may become paranoid this time of year,” he said.

About The Author


Raul Duke has been working as a journalist in Southern California for two decades. The medical marijuana juggernaut is one of his many beats. He's a longtime Westside resident who needs to renew his doctor's recommendation soon. If you have news tips, reach out:

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