Raids Bust Dreams Of Tribal Marijuana Bonanza

CALIFORNIA: Wendy Del Rosa, one of two warring siblings claiming to lead a tiny Indian band just south of the Oregon border, began urgently writing to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento in early May.

The Alturas Rancheria – totaling three members or nine, depending on which faction one believes – had not been content with the earnings from its humble wood-plank gambling house, the Desert Rose Casino. It had pursued various ill-fated ventures, including payday lending and manufacturing cigarettes.

Now, Del Rosa warned in a series of letters to authorities, the tribe was converting a cavernous, tented event center on the reservation into a huge facility for growing marijuana.

“The tribe is acting as a beard for private operators who are attempting to use the medical marijuana law of this state and tribal sovereignty for massive personal profit,” Del Rosa wrote Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip Ferrari in a letter dated May 27.