Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl briefly detained in Northern California pot raid
Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was briefly detained this week during a pot raid on a rural property in Mendocino County, a sheriff’s official said.
Bergdahl, who earned national attention after he walked away from his base in eastern Afghanistan in 2009 and was captured by insurgents, was among a group of people inside a home about 8 a.m. Tuesday when deputies found 181 full-grown marijuana plants, said Capt. Greg Van Patten of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office.
Bergdahl, 29, was not arrested, but he was detained for several hours while deputies searched the property in Redwood Valley, about nine miles north of Ukiah, the county’s largest city.
“He was courteous and polite,” Van Patten said, adding he also was “respectful of the process.”
When asked whether Bergdahl knew there was marijuana on the property, and if he was near the plants, Van Patten said, “Anybody would have been aware there was marijuana on the property.”
Bergdahl told deputies he was on approved leave from the U.S. Army and was visiting friends who lived on the property, Van Patten said. Bergdahl immediately identified himself to the deputies and provided them with his military identification.
Deputies notified military officials that they had detained Bergdahl, and they requested he be returned to his duty station in Texas.
Bergdahl, who was held prisoner for five years in Afghanistan, returned to Texas on Wednesday, Van Patten said.
In March, Bergdahl was charged with desertion and “misbehavior before the enemy,” standing accused of abandoning his post.
In a letter to Gen. Mark Milley, Bergdahl’s civilian lawyer, Eugene R. Fidell, wrote the military was concerned about his safety and he was required to have two escorts whenever he left his base in Texas.
It was not immediately clear whether Bergdahl was accompanied by escorts during his trip to California.
At the Redwood Valley property, deputies arrested one person for marijuana cultivation, Van Patten said.
Van Patten said Bergdahl’s presence at the raid was somewhat surprising. But then again, he said Mendocino County’s illicit marijuana industry is known “to attract a lot of people from different areas of the world.”
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