$1 billion in pot destroyed in raids on federal lands
More than a half-million marijuana plants have been destroyed in the two-month federal operation.
August 22nd, 2012
07:51 AM ET

$1 billion in pot destroyed in raids on federal lands

More than $1 billion worth of marijuana has been uprooted from federal lands during a two-month operation targeting illegal pot farms, federal authorities announced Tuesday.

Operation Mountain Sweep has resulted in the destruction of  578,000 marijuana plants, Benjamin B. Wagner, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California, said in a press release.

The operation, involving agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as well as local agencies,  targeted growing sites on public lands in seven Western states - Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington.

Wagner said 14 individuals in California have been indicted on charges resulting from Operation Mountain Sweep. Authorities have shut down 96 pot farms on public lands in California since the operation began July 1, the federal authorities said. Among those pot farms were sites in national forests and parks, including Death Valley National Park.

Besides producing an illegal crop, the pot farms can do long-term damage to public lands by destroying trees and vegetation, introducing chemicals and pesticides, diverting water sources, and generating large amounts of trash.

“Those who cultivate marijuana on public lands pose a safety threat to the public and an environmental threat to the land. Many of the grow sites are controlled by drug trafficking organizations, which arm their cultivators with dangerous firearms. The poisons they spread kill wildlife and native plants and pollute watersheds," Wagner said in the press release.

The operation will continue through the end of August, authorities said.

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Filed under: Crime • Drugs • Marijuana
soundoff (1,000 Responses)
  1. hooah86

    I have a neighbor who has about 1/2 dozen beautiful plants. It's about 6' and you can see the buds forming. Just an ordinary Joe who likes to partake.

    August 22, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  2. kevindaltam

    So if the harvested it, and sold it at say 15% tax how much NEW money would that add to pay off the debt???

    August 22, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • claybigsby

      around $375M/year....not enough to even dent the national debt

      August 22, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  3. tjp44

    1% of the crops moron.....we consume the rest .....get it, cannot defeat it.....killing you isn't it?

    August 22, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  4. History Bear

    This is not a drug free society, not even close. It's just that until the big Pharmacy companies get on board the FEDS won't legalize the product. Then you'll have to go to Canada to get it at a decent price because the Pharmacy boys will have jacked up the price to pay off their tame congress and cover "research" cost. Now shut up and take your prescriptions.

    August 22, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  5. That would be the way to go

    "which arm their cultivators with dangerous firearms" – Ooooh, as opposed to those safe firearms....

    August 22, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  6. Logan Greer

    Anyone see the irony in the fact that the federal govt now has in it's possession $1 Billion worth of marijuana plants while we are carrying a $1.1 Trillion deficit. Legalize it, sell it, pay down the debt. Tax it moving forward.

    August 22, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  7. cwfusto

    The least poisonous 'drug' and it's one of the most hated..... I would say big alcohol and big tobacco have done a masterful job marketing their products well. You can die from drinking too much alcohol, you can die from the with drawls of alcohol, and better yet, it is PROVEN to be the most poisonous substance for your entire body..... but weed, that has been here for thousands of upon thousands of years is bad. So backwards we've become in this country.

    August 22, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • wpi

      but where will the high stop? Weed is awesome, but what if you want the next level of high? What's next in line to get legalized? At what cost to society?

      August 22, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      wpi

      "but where will the high stop? Weed is awesome, but what if you want the next level of high? What's next in line to get legalized? At what cost to society?"

      what's next in line? what makes you think anything is next in line? and, as far as the cost to our society, drugs would have to go a long way to overtake prohibition

      August 22, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • claybigsby

      "but where will the high stop? Weed is awesome, but what if you want the next level of high? What's next in line to get legalized? At what cost to society?"

      Common misconception regarding pot and "gateway" drugs. there is no proof of what you are stating. In fact, alcohol has a higher probability of being a "gateway" to more illicit drugs.

      August 22, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • doughnuts

      wpi,

      Ask Portugal. They decriminalized ALL drugs ten years ago. All types of drug use has DROPPED, and all categories of violent crime (particularly burglary) are lower than they were a decade ago.

      August 22, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. cwfusto

    Beware Cora LDS – I smell a troll.... don't buy into its hate speech.

    August 22, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  9. cwfusto

    Troll alert! Troll alert! I don't think anyone, anymore, is as blatantly ignorant as your post would suggest you are. Just trying to stoke the fire are you? Troll.

    August 22, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Mr Mackey

      Drugs r baaaaaad. Mmmmmkay?

      August 22, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  10. keith

    Hey CNN why don't you flag Francis, he is bullying me.

    August 22, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  11. Bill

    Nice job, now let's build a few more ABC stores.

    August 22, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  12. Stony

    NO wonder i haven't been able to participate in recreational activities for a month.

    August 22, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  13. Sane mind

    Hippies are ridiculous. So animals aren't meant to be eaten but plants are meant to be smoked?

    August 22, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • claybigsby

      lol way to stereotype all pot smokers as hippies. Pretty ignorant there...chances are I have a better job than you, make more money than you, work longer hours than you, live in a nice house than you, drive nicer cars than you and bang hotter women than you and I smoke everyday.

      August 22, 2012 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • coderjones

      no worse than religion itself

      August 22, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  14. PeterD

    I would like to know How Much they have saved & distributed for the Memebers of Congress and Executive Branch Members to use it while they are on job.

    August 22, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  15. Sane mind

    Mind altering drugs are mind altering drugs. Period.

    August 22, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • claybigsby

      so you include alcohol and prescription meds in that too right?

      August 22, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Aspirin is mind altering

      August 22, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • sharoom

      Don't forget the caffeine in coffee too.

      August 22, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Sane mind

      Yes I do include alcohol. And I don't know what mind altering prescription drugs you're on but if they're because your mind is imbalanced and the drugs are meant to bring your mind back into order, then all the power to you. Tylenol isn't a mind altering drug.

      August 22, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      religion is a mind altering drug. meditation and exercise release endorphins, which is mind altering. what is your point?

      August 22, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Sane mind

      Asprin is taken for medical reasons, headaches etc. Not to get a high.

      August 22, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Sane mind

      I'm not a coffee drinker.

      August 22, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Jobi

      It's Choice, just like being a christian or gay person....

      August 22, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Sane mind

      Sam stone. No religion is not a drug. If you got off the pot maybe you'd be able to comprehend the difference between the two. Also you don't get high or stupid off of meditation and yoga.

      August 22, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Sane mind

      No jobi, not everything is a choice. Some choices are unacceptable because they affect society at large, i.e. drinking and drivng, murder, etc. Those too are choices that society does not permit.

      August 22, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      Sane mind; Of course religion is a drug. And, if you are not getting high of exercise or meditation, you are not doing it right. As far as calling people stupid, it only dliminishes your already weak argument, punk

      August 22, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Taliiman

      It's my mind, I will alter it with whatever I please. And i sure a hell don't need any artificial chemicals to do so. Maybe you should research cannabis instead of sounding like an ignorant loser or just go ahead and take your "depression" medications and commit suicide already.

      August 22, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Sane mind

      Sam stone. Who did I call stupid? Stating the fact that getting drunk or getting high puts a person into a stupid state is not wrong. And no religion is not a drug as catchy as it sounds. It is not fact. Religion is a set of beliefs that has some level of reasoning. Being drunk or being high is not a belief. According to your logic going to school and learning things and acquiring knowledge is a drug because it altered your mind. You fail to comprehend the difference.

      August 22, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Ashland

      LOL, you LIKE prohibition. Slave.

      August 22, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • claybigsby

      LOL, first the only drug I take is marijuana. really? no prescription meds are mind altering????? get off your crack pipe.

      Benzodiazepines, opioids, and barbiturates. Any anti depressant is mind altering and millions are on them. Xanax is mind altering as is any anti-anxiety medication. If you have ever been prescribed Oxycontin or Vicodin you would have taken a mind altering drug. So give me a break. There are many "legal drug dealers" (doctors) making boat loads of money pushing scripts on people. My doc did the same thing to me, taking tests and stating that I needed a med. When I didnt take the med and came in two months later for follow up testing, my tests were all of a sudden normal. Stop being ignorant.

      August 22, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Sane mind

      Taliiman you're the one who's ""depressed"" if you feel the need to temporarily alter your mind. Go puff, grow invisible wings, and jump off the tallest roof you can see.

      August 22, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Sane mind

      I suggest you read my posts under my original posts. Pointing to depression medication is a simpleton's reaction. If you pot heads are all about expanding your mind, then do it already.

      August 22, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      Sane mind: Are you seriously claiming that some relligious experience does not result in an endorphin-like feelling of well being? Same applies to exercise.

      August 22, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • claybigsby

      "I suggest you read my posts under my original posts. Pointing to depression medication is a simpleton's reaction. If you pot heads are all about expanding your mind, then do it already."

      Xanax, oxy vicodin are not for depression, r3t...ard. Did you skip over those? Selective comprehension? many people are on those meds as well and are ADDICTED to them. Oxy and vicodin KILL PEOPLE!!!!! I suggest you research the subject before perpetuating myths about the plant. And I smoke for my anxiety and my joint pain. So I am using it for self medicating purposes instead of giving my money to crooked doctors trying to make more money off me.

      Here is an idea, don't tell me what I should and shouldn't put in my body to benefit myself.

      August 22, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
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