Posted: Monday, January 11, 2016 6:13 pm | Updated: 7:21 pm, Mon Jan 11, 2016.
By Monica Vaughan/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The California Department of Justice is investigating the Yuba-Sutter drug and gang task force, NET-5, following the arrest of one of its agents.
Sutter County District Attorney Amanda Hopper announced last week the task force would be audited by an outside agency following the arrest of local drug agent Christopher "Mark" Heath.
Heath, a Yuba County sheriff's deputy assigned to NET-5 for three years, was arrested on suspicion of trafficking 247 pounds of marijuana across the country.
As the chair of the council that oversees NET-5, Hopper said local law enforcement leaders want a complete organizational review of NET-5, from top to bottom, "to make sure this is an isolated incident."
The DOJ has the skill level and the manpower to undergo the investigation thoroughly and promptly, and its investigators were willing to begin this week, Hopper said.
State investigators began the process last week and will be in the area this week.
The DOJ did not respond to a request for comment by the end of the day Monday.
In his role with NET-5, Heath wrote search warrants, served as a witness in criminal cases and processed evidence.
NET-5 Commander Martin Horan said days after Heath's arrest, there hadn't been any evidence the marijuana found in Pennsylvania came from NET-5 busts.
Both Hopper and Yuba County District Attorney Patrick McGrath are evaluating cases in which Heath was the lead investigator. Horan identified 62 such cases.
The district attorneys said there may be additional cases that are impacted.
Susan Soares has written for Cannabis Now Magazine, Alternet, and Sensi Magazine.