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Rancheria decision is a windfall for sheriff

The Smith River Rancheria is paying $110,000 to the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office for the purchase of two patrol vehicles, equipment for the squad cars and funding for half a deputy position.

The deputy funding is intended to supplement the Sheriff’s Office Drug Task Force and help the agency combat drug-related crime on or near the rancheria in northern Del Norte County.

The goal is to “continue to make the improvements that we have enforcing state and federal law on substance abuse,” said Russ Crabtree, executive director of the rancheria, during  Tuesday’s meeting of the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors. 

“It lets us provide those kind of resources that wouldn’t otherwise be focused on these problems,” said Sheriff Dean Wilson by phone Wednesday.

From 2006 to 2011, Smith River Rancheria and Elk Valley Rancheria each paid $38,044 for an additional deputy on the drug task force for reservation drug crime. In 2011, Elk Valley withdrew its share of the funding from the agreement.

“This has been a dilemma for Smith River Rancheria as well as for the county,” Crabtree told supervisors. Crabtree  explained how the tribe had paid its share of $38,000 in years past. “We would’ve never agreed into the future to increase that, but we  had an opportunity we saw for the county to purchase two vehicles, equip those vehicles and provide that back to the county.”

The rancheria was able to use a portion of an unused law enforcement-related grant to purchase the vehicles and equipment, according to Wilson.

“We appreciate Smith River Rancheria’s involvement,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Mike Sullivan. “Without partnerships, these things don’t happen.”

Reach Adam Spencer at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it


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