We’ve received a few emails lately from readers asking why they’re seeing Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park and Petaluma police stopping motorists along Highway 101 from Windsor north of Cloverdale. For example, JD wrote in:

“I am a courier for a pharmacy and have seen Santa Rosa police squad cars pulling vehicles over the past few weeks on 101 well north of Santa Rosa. Would you have any insight as to why they are that far away from Santa Rosa? Are the perhaps part of a training situation? Just very odd seeing them that far from their territory. I have always seen sheriff vehicles enforcing the rules of the road, but rarely have I seen city vehicles on state highways especially away from the city they represent.”

Asked about the traffic stops, a Santa Rosa police official paused for a bit before saying, “I can’t talk about it.”

Well, then, who’s in charge of the operation?

“I can’t tell you, and they’re not going to talk to you about it.”

Another Santa Rosa police official also declined to discuss the operation, saying it was “sensitive.”

But another law enforcement source said several Sonoma County agencies are participating in an anti-drug task force. Sheriff’s deputies for years on north 101 have been stopping vehicles that they suspect are being used to transport marijuana. Those stops often are successful. Now it appears other agencies are joining in.

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  1. Robert C

    I was wondering about that too…
    Thursday, I was driving back from Cloverdale, when I seen a Santa Rosa PD cruiser make a U-turn just north of Geyserville, check his monitor and then pull over a van south on Geyserville.

    October 8th, 2011 7:44 am

  2. J.D.

    This has been going on for a few years now and typically occurs during and shortly after the north coast marijuana harvest. I have been monitoring the activity on my scanner this year and in past years.

    October 8th, 2011 8:28 am

  3. Phil

    I’ve noticed this too, inquired, and been given the same response from the agencies involved. I believe that, especially in light of the inordinately large local budgets dedicated to law-enforcement, that the Petaluma and SRPD should be more forthcoming in keeping the taxpayers informed as to their operations. While I’ve certainly seen a few obvious drug-related arrests take place, the vast majority of the enforcement efforts clearly revolve around the use of radar and speeding, ergo, generation of revenue.

    One question- How is this being funded, and by who?

    October 8th, 2011 8:36 am

  4. Kent Davis

    Didn’t these people used to work for us?

    October 8th, 2011 8:41 am

  5. Irwin R. Shyster

    What makes them suspect the car is carrying marijuana? Smoke pouring out of windows, like the van in the Cheech and Chong movie? (LOL)

    For all MJ users/distributors/sellers: make sure your car is currently registered, no broken windows or mirrors, all lights work, NOTHING hanging from rear-view mirror, don’t speed or drive stupid, don’t drive when high, don’t transport after dark (like at 2AM – cops know 1/2 of cars on road at 2AM are doing something illegal.

    Also, get a dog if you don’t have one and keep it in car – it will confuse cops’ dog.

    watch this:


    Too bad most of the morons who do this stuff can’t read or don’t read and won’t see this important info.

    October 8th, 2011 8:44 am

  6. brown man

    And exactly who is driving the vehicles that they are pulling over? what is it that they are looking for when they pull a car over? Sounds like a perfect reason for officers to violate civil rights and pull over colored people driving to work and then finding out they are driving without a license. White cops in sonoma county are the most racist of any other in the north bay and probably participate in helping white smugglers get their product to all parts of california.

    October 8th, 2011 9:01 am

  7. Donna

    I think it is great that there are more than just the sheriffs departments stepping up to help with all the illegial trafficking of drugs going up and down the highway as well as through out the back roads. I understand and support medical marijuana, however, I feel that the money the growers make is not taxed, (a tax that would help our state out in all different areas, especially the education of our children) and all of the people including myself who have worked legitimately our entire lives paid taxes, and yet we still have to suffer from our state budget cuts. Legal growers are given permits to grow for the medical marijuana clubs, the clubs pay city taxes, but not state taxes. If we open a business of any sorts we are required to pay both city and state taxes, so, why shouldn’t growers and clubs be required the same laws as regular working blue collar people. Are you aware of how many innocent people out walking the beautiful countryside are shot, killed or just disappear off the face of the earth because they happen to walk into an illegal pot farm? Think about how you would feel if you or one of your friends, family or children were to be out for an afternoon hike and never come back, because of the drug cartels? Puts a different perspective on the situation doesn’t it.

    October 8th, 2011 9:10 am

  8. T. O'Brien

    They do this every year after Marijuana harvest. I bet there are police with dogs to sniff out the weed. They are very interested in moving trucks, vans etc. They have been doing this for as long as 20 years since mendo, Humboldt and Trinity are the Emerald triangle.

    October 8th, 2011 9:31 am

  9. boneahpart

    its harvest time, its funny to read the police saying they “cant discuss it” ! its not a secret up this way, especially when you walk outside your door and everyone is growing and getting ready to pull their crops!
    I also noticed multiple CHP parked on sides of the roads and in bushes on the sides of 101 Southbound..and so has everyone else! I think its just for show for the public trying to present the image law enforcement is on top of it, they never will be!

    October 8th, 2011 9:39 am

  10. Bob Dickman

    I was pulled over southbound, just north of Healdsburg. He said I hit 71mph coming down a small hill. I set cruise control for 66. I wondered what was up.

    October 8th, 2011 9:47 am

  11. CJ

    I also heard from a friend who was moving down here in a box rental truck about that. As far north as Willits area, on suspicion of moving large loads of marijuana down south. I think its great they are watching such things, and publicity will deter this also from people being duped to participate in this easy money, becuase all the criminals already know its going on so its on.

    Deter it, and visibly make highway checkpoints like for DUI but for trafficking drugs, deter DUI, and make our roads safer. There plenty of wine tasters out there to keep an eye out for.

    October 8th, 2011 9:58 am

  12. Richard Brucker

    I think it’s great…go get em!

    October 8th, 2011 10:15 am

  13. Steve spiegelman

    ISN’T it obvious the parallel to prohibition days, the rights of the innocent get trampled on in the name of control of the government. Remember your right not to consent, not to talk and have a lawyer, 4th,5th,6th, amendment learn your constitutional rights the people will prevail but til then use your voice and your vote.

    October 8th, 2011 10:38 am

  14. Safedriver

    SRPD has plenty they should be doing in the town that hired them. Cops gone wild…

    October 8th, 2011 11:22 am

  15. Ray

    Ha! Happens every year. Here’s what they’re NOT looking for. A male or female in their late fifties, early sixties driving a four door sedan or small to mid sized SUV. They ARE looking for vans, U-Hauls and pickups with camper shells that have blacked out windows. Also in the mix are those rental motorhomes we see all the time.

    October 8th, 2011 11:48 am

  16. crckrjack6

    it’s pot harvest season, ya’ll. increased activity by law enforcement isn’t just local. keep an eye out if you’re driving a pickup from here to eureka as this is the main corridor for pot transortation this time of year.

    October 8th, 2011 12:11 pm

  17. J.D.

    As for what makes them think that a particular vehicle is carrying dope……..well, my entirely unscientific scanner monitoring shows that they seem to stop a lot of vehicles with out-of-state plates.

    And as a result of my profession I have seen that the police will find a reason to stop a car registered in a Green Triangle county (they run the plates of passing cars on their patrol car computers.

    And then there’s the old stand-by of stopping non-whites.

    October 8th, 2011 12:20 pm

  18. doghtr

    “Can’t talk about it”.? We pay your salary, fella. Things are bad and getting worse. If we don’t start protecting our rights now, there won’t be any left to protect later. Our beloved California is turning into a fascist police state before our very eyes.

    October 8th, 2011 2:01 pm

  19. Katherine

    “They ARE looking for vans, U-Hauls and pickups with camper shells that have blacked out windows. Also in the mix are those rental motorhomes we see all the time.”

    ANY rental is considered suspect. Last yr I was driving a rental car while my car was in the shop & was on my way home late one night after going to Hopland casino with some friends. I had just dropped my friends off in Windsor & gotten back on the freeway when I was stopped. I was told that they had stopped me cuz I didnt use my turn signal when changing lanes but I’ve never seen 3 cop cars (2 marked & 1 unmarked) stop anyone for such a violation. When I was asked if they could search the car I knew it was for more than just a simple traffic violation but I gave them permission anyway. After about 15 mins of me sitting in the back of a cop car, out of the cold, they finally said I could go. They didnt even bother writing me a ticket for the alleged violation.

    October 8th, 2011 6:17 pm

  20. Dennis Rogers

    Whats going on….? I pay for these cops to be in Santa Rosa to be finding criminals….not on highway 101 busting people. I witnessed a Santa Rosa police officer pulling over a normal car who was just going down the 101 north of Healdesburg. Come on, lets work were the crime is being committed not on a state highway twenty-five miles away. Don’t see these cops working around Ukiah…..What a wast of taxpayer money.

    October 8th, 2011 7:06 pm

  21. RiverRebel


    October 8th, 2011 7:10 pm

  22. law abiding

    Stop your whining,potheads.
    get a real life…not a clouded excuse for one.

    October 8th, 2011 8:46 pm

  23. smartcookie

    My rights were trampled recently, and now I get the connection. I also was pulled over for a bogus reason( also not ticketed). I was asked if I minded being searched, having been searched before and knowing how traumatic it is, I refused voluntary consent. They (also 3 cars) kept me on the side of the road for 40 minutes.My real crime seemed to be having my car registered in Mendo and driving late at night.

    October 8th, 2011 10:20 pm

  24. doghtr

    Sounds like it is time to occupy Santa Rosa.

    October 8th, 2011 10:20 pm

  25. arch stanton

    Katherine is right. Any rental is suspect. Couriers for “legit” clubs often use rentals.

    October 9th, 2011 1:12 am

  26. History 101

    1971 Nixon starts war on drugs, 1973 DEA is started, 2011 over one trillion spent fighting it ! Wake up america stop fighting a war we can not win ! Take the profit out of drugs and legalize it before we become a narco state like Mexico !!!

    October 9th, 2011 7:31 am

  27. artemis

    Policing For Profit.. That is what you are seeing.. Even though funding for Policing is VERY low, this is one way to balance the budget… Asset Forfeiture also.. Observe the Militarization of Police Forces in the USA. Another Blight on our Culture.. The highest percentage of people incarcerated in the Industrialized world… It is obviously NOT working..

    Orwell’s World is becoming the New Normal.

    October 9th, 2011 7:53 am

  28. robbie's ryder

    @History 101: I agree with you 100%!

    October 9th, 2011 9:50 am

  29. doghtr

    What do the authorities expect people in northern cal. to do for a living? Timber? Trees are gone. Fishing? Fish are gone. Prison guards? Budget is busted. Get rid of pot growing family farmers and the economy would collapse. Agriculture is the only industry providing jobs and income up here. The police stalking citizens on 101 remind me of the bears snagging salmon in the river. They are not our protectors, but our predators and we are their prey.

    October 9th, 2011 10:18 am

  30. Abused

    I was pulled over by a overly aggressive Officer, who was rude and out of line. Wrong in so many ways. No violation he was simply fishing for a hope of finding something.

    October 9th, 2011 2:09 pm

  31. Abused

    I’m confused Why police forces spend our tax dollars, All the while, stepping all over the citizens rights to Our right to roam freely. We as a people, Must demand some simple changes in police agencies lack of respect, of we the citizens, with these Witch hunts were being targeted with inherit malice…..

    October 9th, 2011 2:22 pm

  32. jorge

    Lol our areas law enforcment are so lazy and stupid they are probably still looking for aaron bassler trying to.milk it for all its worth …

    October 9th, 2011 8:42 pm

  33. john

    is this what we want to spend our money on?Ask any cop and inside its a laugh.they love this overtime pay with the ave cop making 100ger a year.lets get these illegals off the road im tire of their lawlessness,after geting t boned and the cop saying he could do nothing because jose has no license or innsurance.(:

    December 1st, 2011 8:50 am

  34. meg

    after driveing my son to school in oregon i was pulled over just north of the oregan border doing the speed limit on the button,i was asked where im from where ya going etc.after telling him go to take son to college he arsked for consent to search my vehicle,i said no he told me i had to wait for a k9 unit that never arrived and i was let go after being detained for 35 minutes.this is all a result of no accountabity the da would never believe me or the public but it happened,if this is not a police state i dont know what is:(

    December 1st, 2011 10:44 am

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