Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Five Years Ago This Month, Police Officers Robbed a Texas Man of Cannabis South of Hopland—One Suspect Now Faces New Charges

On December 5, 2017, two men claiming to be ATF agents stopped Zeke Flatten, a former undercover officer, just north of Frog Woman Rock south of Hopland, and robbed him of three pounds of Humboldt County marijuana. Yesterday, one of the men alleged to have been involved, a former Rohnert Park police officer, Joseph Huffaker, was back in court facing new federal charges that could add up to over 90 years in prison.

Flatten told Redheaded Blackbelt in January of 2018, just a month after he was robbed, that, at the time he was stopped, he first thought the men were pretending to be officers but were actually criminals and he worried that his life might be in danger. “For probably the first 30 seconds I wondered, ‘Do I need to break out and run on foot,’” he explained. “I knew it wasn’t right. There was not any kind of identification.”

But then he saw something that he said reassured him. “…I saw their license [plate] was California Exempt,” he explained. “I felt relief. These are cops.”

He said he could tell the plate was authentic.  “I never once doubted the plate,” he said. “I knew that it was real. It wasn’t paper. It wasn’t cardboard. It had screws…It was on a police [type] car…I think my nervousness or anxiety decreased when I knew that at least one of them was a legitimate cop.”

Having been an undercover investigator in Texas for several years when he was in his twenties, Flatten said he instinctively trusted law enforcement and believed that at the worse he was facing paying an attorney because he was operating in a legal gray area.

But, the officers acted oddly. “They never ran my name to see if I was wanted nor did they search any other part of the vehicle, or my person,” he told us at the time.

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That stop, Redheaded Blackbelt‘s subsequent articles, and the attempted coverup that followed have already led to one officer, Sgt. Jacy Tatum, former Rohnert Park officer of the year and head of a drug interdiction team, pleading guilty to tax evasion, making a false report to a federal investigator, and conspiracy to commit extortion under the color of law.

Huffaker, however, continues to plead innocent to all the charges against him. (See here for the most recent indictment from the FBI.) In the indictment, the US Attorney explains to the Court, “After the publication on February 11, 2018, of two articles [by Redheaded Blackbelt]…Tatum, in the presence of HUFFAKER, contacted his and HUFFAKER’S supervisor to get approval to issue a press release… .” The Attorney alleges that Tatum then issued the press release which contained information about another person carrying Humboldt County cannabis south who was also stopped by Tatum and Huffaker and seized “at least 23 pounds of marijuana…while failing to provide a citation or any other
documentation related to the stop… .” and they falsely alleged it to belong to Zeke Flatten in the press release in an effort to cover their theft of Flatten’s cannabis. (Read more in this detailed account of how Redheaded Blackbelt uncovered the falsifications in their story here.)

Flatten told Redheaded Blackbelt in an interview yesterday that though he understands that Huffaker is entitled to the presumption of innocence, he’s frustrated that the former officer is costing the taxpayers so much money.

“He’s switched attorneys four times,” Flatten stated. He said he was disgusted that a former officer who “took an oath to protect the people” would continue to slow the process down as much as possible. Flatten said that he respected former Sgt. Tatum for at least standing up in court “with a straight back” and accepting responsibility for his crimes.

The new charges and the extended sentences faced by Huffaker are an indication of how bad the crimes he committed are, Flatten alleged. “He’s a pretty hardcore criminal,” Flatten said. “Not many people face 93 years in federal prison.”

The entire charges and possible sentences against Huffaker are listed in this screenshot of the indictment below:

Note: Counts 2 & 3 are counted as 20 years imprisonment for each.

Redheaded Blackbelt’s Extensive Coverage of the Cover Up

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  1. Matthew 24:12-26
    New King James Version
    Holy Bible

    12 And because 🥷lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold👺 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved 😇. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom 📖 will be preached in all the world 🌎 as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. 🔥🔥🔥

    • All the signs are parading in front of us. And people still refuse the truth ???? Repent people! Read the word of God. And surrender to Jesus. Accept his gift of salvation You will be amazed if you truly do

      • I was force fed god/Jesus/religion for the 1st 15 years of my life. Even at my young age I was capable of independent & critical thought. The indoctrination never took hold! The “signs” have been happening before, during, & after the Bible was written. Its called life! A volatile planet & nasty human beings aren’t a sign of anything but our condition.

    • What happens after the end? By saying the end comes that would suggest that there would be no more…which means no afterlife because if there is an afterlife than that would mean there is no end would it not?
      Something about this religions beliefs just doesn’t add up.
      Please explain to me how there is an afterlife & “the end” without one cancelling out the other.
      It just makes it seem that the person who made those statements is full of B.S.

      • Afterlife is death, heaven is what you make of your life on this blue ball hurling around the sun.” we ain’t here for a long time,we’re here for a good time”….

    • If the gospel of the kingdom is preached all around the world I will seriously kill myself because there is nothing that irritates me more than listening to preaching. I got enough of that as a kid to last me 1000 lifetimes.

  2. I have to tell Mr. Redheaded Blackbelt that his words make it sound as if the person who was carrying Humboldt county cannabis south was the one who siezed the 23lbs of cannabis, not that it was the officers siezing the 23lbs of cannabis.
    You kind of skiped an important part of the description of the event.
    I’m suprised a pro like you let that slide through.
    I’m still a big fan btw.

  3. With Rohnert Park settling for over $2,000,000, one must acknowledge there must be something there. Now, two of the officers have been indicted. One pleaded guilty, waiting on the other. Also, the Rico filing now has not just the Texas man but three Ukiahians. I’m pro law enforcement, but not when they are committing crimes. Yes, apply the law, if these people were violating the law, then arrest them. Seizing the mj, guns and cash and then have no record of it except we destroyed it is shady. Eyster and Kendall need to be concerned that a unit from Rohnert Park was conducting stops in Mendocino County. They should want to find out, why and on what authority. Just because someone is doing something that you may not agree with doesn’t make this okay.

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