Federal Agents Bust Illegal Marijuana Operation In Gardnerville

Courtesy: DEA Las Vegas, Twitter


The Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California issues this statement in regards to the recently raided illegal cannabis grow and operations in Douglas County.

The illegal cannabis operations were not on Washoe tribally owned lands, but on nearby properties that are held in trust by the federal government for individuals. The Constitution and Bylaws of the Washoe Tribe, Article 1 Section 1, outline the very limited jurisdiction the Washoe Tribe has over allotment lands.

The illegal cannabis grow is not a reflection of the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California. It is unfortunate when individuals choose to engage in illegal activities, and they must accept the consequences for their actions.

The Washoe Tribe does not condone this type of behavior. We support the law enforcement action that was taken to end this operation.

The Washoe Tribe feels this illegal activity should have been handled sooner. There are serious issues with the trust responsibility between the federal government and tribes. This incident truly exposed those areas of vulnerability and jurisdiction. The Washoe Tribe will be addressing these issues with the federal government and law enforcement.



An illegal marijuana operation was shut down in Gardnerville on Monday.

Officials say multiple agencies served two search warrants in the Bodie Flats area of Gardnerville on September 20.

Both warrants were a result of a lengthy investigation of the illegal marijuana grow, involving numerous Chinese nationals believed to be associated with organized crime.

During the raid, around 80 people were contacted and detained for questioning. Two people were arrested, one for an immigration violation and one for possession of a controlled substance (not marijuana).

The grow consisted of 160 greenhouses and 60,066 marijuana plants total. The street value seized is estimated to be in the millions. The total amount of marijuana destroyed by burying it on site was 123,900 pounds.

“Marijuana is legal in Nevada, but is highly regulated. This marijuana grow was well outside any legal marijuana grow permitted by Nevada Statutes. The most alarming aspect of this case to me is the deplorable condition the workers lived and worked in and the potential negative environmental impact caused by the unregulated fertilizer and waste,” said Douglas County Sheriff Dan Coverley. “No matter what your stance is on marijuana this operation, and the total disregard for the environment, was a stain on the beautiful valley we live in.”

Involved agencies included:

Douglas County Sheriff's Office

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)

Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)

Washoe Tribal Police Department

Nevada Division of Investigation (NDI)

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board