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Mendocino sheriff says employee cleared in federal pot raid

Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman said Friday that an internal investigation has cleared a sheriff's captain of any potential wrongdoing related to a federal marijuana raid on property owned by the captain's family.

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office conducted the investigation at Allman's request after federal authorities raided Potter Valley property owned by the family of Sheriff's Capt. Randy Johnson. Sources said authorities found 500 marijuana plants.

Allman refused to make the report public on Friday, saying it is a personnel matter. He said he was given permission to discuss the findings.

"I feel very comfortable in stating that Capt. Johnson was not involved in illegal activity," Allman said. "But if anyone can provide additional information the investigation will be re-opened."

Johnson was not immediately available for comment late Friday afternoon. He has remained at work during the inquiry.

Federal officials have not divulged any details about the case, which remains sealed under court order.

Allman said Sonoma County investigators found no evidence of marijuana growing in or around Johnson's house, which is on a 16-acre compound on Highway 20 that his family has owned for more than three decades.

One of the two parcels is owned by the captain and his father, Johnny Johnson. The adjoining parcel is owned by the elder Johnson and includes numerous rental residences.

Asked how anyone could have missed 500 marijuana plants being grown on the property, Allman said he doesn't know whether that number is accurate or whether the pot in question was being grown indoors or outside.

"Five-hundred plants doesn't mean that it looks like a vineyard," Allman said. "It could mean that the plants were inside. The DEA has not told me that Capt. Johnson is a suspect in this."


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