Forest Service Order Singled Out Latinos in Drug Investigation
Federal officers were ordered to interrogate Latinos in a Mendocino National Forest marijuana eradication effort, even if no evidence of the drug was found in their cars.
A U.S. Forest Service supervisor told his officers in a directive that, “If a vehicle stop is conducted and no marijuana is located and the vehicle has Hispanics inside at a minimum we would like all individuals FI’d [field interrogated].” The biweekly Sacramento Valley Mirror newspaper obtained the directive.
Forest Service officials said the directive should not have singled out Latinos but denied that officers were told to use racial profiling.
The language was deleted from the directive Wednesday night, said Phebe Brown, public affairs officer for Mendocino National Forest.
Officers have since been told to “apply the stop-action across the board to whomever would be stopped in any kind of a vehicle for probable cause,” she said.
The effort began Oct. 8 and will end Oct. 14, according to Jerry Moore, special agent in charge of the region for the forest service. He said it came in response to an increase in marijuana cultivation in national parks that law enforcement agencies tie to Mexican nationals.
Start your day right
Sign up for Essential California for news, features and recommendations from the L.A. Times and beyond in your inbox six days a week.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.