The DEA encroached on the sovereign land of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin and destroyed a large crop of industrial hemp, Native Americans said.
But the Associated Press report that federal authorities maintain the crop was illegal marijuana, some of which was being tended by non-tribal members.
In May, the tribe legalized grow operations for low-THC industrial hemp for research purposes.
Tribal Chairman Gary Besaw said he was surprised that federal authorities used “the full force of the DEA to raid our tribe.”
But the DEA characterized the marijuana as a higher grade than industrial hemp.
“The investigation into the marijuana fields revealed that individuals other than Menominee Tribe Members planted and were tending to the marijuana plants located on tribal land,” said Dennis Wichern, the special agent in charge of the DEA’s Chicago Field Division, which includes Wisconsin.
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