Public lands and wildlife destroyed by marijuana grows in the USA -11 pot grow sites raided – dangers to human food chain of toxic chemicals.
Officers with the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department cleared more than 106,000 marijuana plants worth an estimated $319 million over the week and a half. Most of the gardens were in the hills above Porterville.
The sheriff’s department announced Saturday that over the previous 10 days day, detectives from the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department S.T.E.P. Unit completed several months of investigations by conducting marijuana grow site raid/eradication operations on public and private lands throughout the mountainous areas of Tulare County.
Four men are in custody.
Officers raided 11 marijuana gardens over the period. While the four suspects were apprehended in various grow sites during raids, additional suspects fled into the thick underbrush and steep terrain and have not been apprehended.
Approximately 106,525 live marijuana plants were seized. The sheriff’s department said if allowed to fully mature each of these plants would yield in excess of one pound of usable marijuana bud with a street value over $3,000 per pound, thus the total value of
$319,587,000 of marijuana was destroyed.
The operations were conducted with the assistance of Federal Officers from the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and the Drug Enforcement Administration’s C.E.R.T. program (Cannabis Eradication & Reclamation Teams.)
In addition to the marijuana plants seized, detectives also seized several firearms, ammunition for various pistols, rifles and shotguns and multiple pounds of fertilizer, pesticides and rat poison. Carcasses of various animals were discovered in several of the grow sites, including one of an endangered Ring-Tailed Cat and evidence of a bear cub being shot by growers on U.S. Forest lands.
Detectives and federal officers removed trash, water hose, pesticides and fertilizers from the public land gardens and restored as much of the natural streams and creeks which had been diverted by growers as possible (a process known as reclamation.) Additional work will be done on these areas to restore them to their natural state after the marijuana season, to lessen the danger to workers on those projects.
This article comes to us courtesy of California Watch.