$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. Pay attention

    It's ok to buy assault rifles, tons of ammunition, alcohol, bath salts( LSD ), cigarettes, fast food but god forbid someone grow a natural herb.

    August 22, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott B

      @Pay attention: Bath salts are not LSD. Not even close. They usually contain methylenedioxypyrovalerone, an intense stimulant.

      August 22, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. soWhatFixTheCorruptJudicialSystemInstead

    So, they're still trying to WEED out the POT heads? lol

    August 22, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. obama

    how much tax paying dollars was wasted destroying this harmless plant? all in vein because more and more crops will sprout up in their places.

    August 22, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Randy

      "Vain." Dummy.

      August 22, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. DisugstedNY

    Oh look all the pot-heads are out. Thanks for causing the problem pot-heads.

    August 22, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • sbp

      Good post. Informative, insightful. A step up from "you stink."

      Perhaps you might think about having something to say before you post.

      August 22, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Corey

      The federal government is the cause of this problem.

      August 22, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      Great insight, Disgusted.

      August 22, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      Also, pen-de-jo, which problem are you blathering about?

      August 22, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gordo

      Oh yes potheads are SUCH a problem. We are broke as a country yet literally BURNING cash crops that could be used towards the federal budget. It is nothing short of a tragedy that marijuana is illegal due to a century-old law that has racist roots.

      August 22, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • skipfrmdc

      ...he says as he pours two more fingers.

      August 22, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joel

      Yea stupid thats $1billion the federal government couldve made buy selling it and taxing it. Its a good way to cut the debt that everyone is so damn worried about! I bet your probably an alcoholic!

      August 22, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • doughnuts

      Pot-heads like Carl Sagan, Steve Jobs, Thomas Jefferson.

      What a bunch of trouble-makers.

      August 22, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cogito

      That's ok...we're disgusted by your ignorance too NY.
      You really think ALL your problems are caused by potheads?!?!?!
      WOW!
      Your idiocy is overwhelming.

      August 22, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Zeitgeist's friend

    I got the munchies!

    August 22, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Corey

    They act like growing weed is some how more dangerous to the land then say legitimate farming. Which also destroys forests, introduces chemicals and pesticides as well. Money wasted of the federal agencies, legal system, incarceration and loss of tax dollars. When is this country going to wake up? Because this will never end. If this was regulated the impact to the environment would be reduced, people wouldn't be turned into criminals, and we would have another source of revenue.

    August 22, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Daedalus

    In other news: $1Billion dollars in taxable income burned.
    /slowclap

    August 22, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonny Two-times

      Since when has income derived from the sale of illegal drugs ever fallen into the category of "taxable income"?

      August 22, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonny Two-times

      Oh wait! Criminals ALWAYS pay taxes!!!!

      August 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike English

      Daedalus's point was that if pot was taxed this country would be a lot better off financially.

      August 22, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      Johnny Two Times: The sale of illegal products has always been considered a taxable event. That is how they got Capone. Try to have some understanting before you blather on

      August 22, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. MrsJaxCote

    I wonder who got high off of that one!

    August 22, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ted

    We should have processed it and sold/exported it to a foreign country. It would help with our trade deficit a lot. Who cares if the rest of the world is stoned?

    August 22, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Badly-Bent

    Let me guess. Post a message here and wind up on some DEA list to be investigated later?

    August 22, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. TMS

    Funny thing is, its a PLANT, It grows anywhere and everywhere. Quit waisting my tax dollars on irraticating a plant that grows from sunlight and water. Talk about goverment spending quit this ish and move forward irraticating oxycotton and vicadin.

    August 22, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mike English

    Just come up with one reason as to why legalizing pot would be a bad idea.

    August 22, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mike

    If you want to point a finger at the biggest waste of taxpayer money, point it directly at initiatives like this one.

    August 22, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. yaa

    What is this is not "illegal growth"? what if the plant is native to these places?

    August 22, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Micah

    Wow that seems really smart to throw away 1 Billion dollars when we are in a recession and our schools are falling apart, people have no money, and there are homeless everywhere. Another brilliant move by our government.

    August 22, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
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