Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Fri, Nov. 27

Search warrants served on Navajo Nation amid hemp crackdown

This July 2016 photo provided by the North Dakota Department of Agriculture shows industrial hemp growing in a field in North Dakota's Benson County. (North Dakota Department of Agriculture via AP,File)

This July 2016 photo provided by the North Dakota Department of Agriculture shows industrial hemp growing in a field in North Dakota's Benson County. (North Dakota Department of Agriculture via AP,File)

SHIPROCK, N.M. (AP) — A team of federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement officers on Nov. 9served search warrants on the Navajo Nation near Shiprock, where the tribe has been cracking down on illegal hemp farm operations.

FBI spokesman Frank Fisher said the warrants were sealed and he could not provide any details. He said only that the warrants stemmed from an ongoing investigation.

Navajo President Jonathan Nez tweeted Nov. 9 that tribal police were assisting in a multiagency operation and that there was no threat to the community. He said more information would be released later.

In October, more than a dozen people were arrested on drug charges at a motel in the area. Authorities alleged the suspects were trimming marijuana plants in multiple motel rooms as marijuana was being stored in other rooms. Investigators were trying to determine whether the suspects were tied to the hemp operations.

The Navajo Nation just weeks ago sued nearly three dozen people, accusing them of illegally growing hemp or marijuana on the reservation. The lawsuit claims that the operations are contaminating the tribe’s water, land and other natural resources. It was the second such lawsuit the tribe’s Department of Justice has filed this year.

The tribe does not have a regulatory system for industrial hemp on the vast reservation that spans parts of Utah, New Mexico and Arizona.

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