$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.

Opinion: Marijuana law just creates criminals

Four tons of marijuana pulled from ocean

Post by:
Filed under: Crime • Drugs • Marijuana
soundoff (1,000 Responses)
  1. Lagos

    A hundred drug traffickers cry out... delicious.

    August 22, 2012 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
  2. oftheplace

    Words can not describe how much safer I feel now that all of this pot has been destroyed. God bless the DEA.

    August 22, 2012 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
    • leroy

      screw the dea

      August 23, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Woof

      Hoping your comment this was written in a sarcastic sense because the legal drug alcohol has caused more deaths in this country then any other drug. And why is alcohol legal, because the governemnt can regulate it's control and make money off of it. That's also why lobbyists for the alcohol industry will pump a ton of money into politician's coffers to keep pot illegal. The hypocracy of this system is truly amazing.

      August 28, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bobby

    This is such a load of crap! One billion dollars?!?! HAHA...no way. They are not doing this to protect for the citizens. they are doing this to bring in more tax dollars to fill their pockets. They are not doing this for the environment, if that was the case, they would be ripping out all the irrigation tubing left behind. Nope,they just leave it all there to rot and decay in about thousand years.

    The truly sad thing is, people with common sense SHOULD be able to realize this. But yet, so many millions of people have their blinders on and believe the fallacies our guberment tells them.

    Oh well, I guess the saying is true, Society gets dumber each and every generation.

    August 22, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
    • MrMynor

      You are correct, people are definitely getting dumber, because people apparently now believe that expending federal funds to seek out and eradicate grow operations on federal lands, where all property seized is immediately destroyed, somehow results in a net gain in tax revenue.

      August 22, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. sberger

    Time and money well spent. Stay off public land with your trash

    August 22, 2012 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  5. Me

    If the government just decided to tax the crap out of this stuff, we'd be out of debt in a few years!

    August 22, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • stta

      If people would quit using drugs, just think how much money it would save everyone in money, productivity, law enforcement and medical bills. Nobody needs drugs, they want them and have troubles separating wants and needs.

      August 22, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
    • oftheplace

      stta – they're called recreational drugs because people use them during discretionary time, which has nothing to do with productivity. By that logic, lets get rid of TV and books too, they're known destroyers of productivity.

      August 22, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Ex-pothead

      You may want to go back and do the math on that tax idea: National debt is around $16T and annual pot sales (retail) is around $25B.

      Looks like it might take over 500 years to pay that off with 100% sales tax. That's with 0 interest.

      Hope you pay off your credit cards faster.

      August 22, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • claybigsby

      "If people would quit using drugs, just think how much money it would save everyone in money, productivity, law enforcement and medical bills. Nobody needs drugs, they want them and have troubles separating wants and needs."

      LOL so it is fine for us to consume prescription meds that have worse side effects than what you are trying to cure, consume alcohol that kills many people daily including innocent people in DU, causes cancer and is addictive, and consume tobacco that kills people every day, causes disease and is addictive, yet you cry about the medical bills pot smokers would incur because of smoking pot. News flash. People already smoke pot whether its legal or not. Medical costs would be flat. And if I am paying for my own insurance, how does that effect you in anyway? Save productivity? I smoke everyday, have a 50hr a week job, make $100k/yr and drive a M5 and E55AMG. My productivity is not hurt because of it. Money in law enforcement? Maybe if we made the substance legal, we would save money on law enforcement. Maybe LEOs would spend their time looking for actual criminals than trying to find pot smokers. Nobody needs cigarettes and nobody needs alcohol either yet they are very detrimental to society but no one cares. As long as the government continues to make money off of the prohibition of POT, it will continue to be so until enough people stand up against the government.

      August 22, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • ILOVEDRUNKS

      @Expothead, in 2006 it was $35.6B likely a little higher now (most recent data I could find). Still not enough for the to pay off the deficit for sure but what you failed to mention is the billions of dollars spent on "protecting" is from it.

      August 22, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Ex-pothead

      @ILOVEDRUNKS

      Yes, there are other costs involved I did not mention: law enforcement for drug gangs, drug rehab costs, lost income due to wasting money on something that only burns up, lost memory and lost time spent arguing for the legalization of something that has only negative effects for mankind. It took decades to finally admit tobacco is bad – how many decades do we need to add something so similar?

      August 22, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      Ex-pothead, your name is a lie. Simple gimmick to add leverage to your argument by proclaiming yourself an "ex-addict". You aren't fooling anybody. If indeed your life was a wreck while you were a pot user, I'm sure there were other factors involved that had nothing to do with your marijuana use. The blame lays on you alone.

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

      "Yes, there are other costs involved I did not mention: law enforcement for drug gangs, drug rehab costs, lost income due to wasting money on something that only burns up, lost memory and lost time spent arguing for the legalization of something that has only negative effects for mankind. It took decades to finally admit tobacco is bad – how many decades do we need to add something so similar?"

      Hilarious. Look out for those marijuana gangs everyone! They've got the Reefer Madness! I heard they like to roll with the cigarette gangs, and you know how dangerous those guys are! You are completely ignorant and/or delusional.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. tom

    Phew! That oughtta take care of the recent wave of gun crimes!

    August 22, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  7. Caren

    WHAT A HUGE WASTE OF MONEY BY A LOT OF STUPID PEOPLE. IF THEY THINK WE ARE GOING TO CHEER THEM, THEY ARE WRONG. POT SHOULD BE LEGAL. GO AFTER THE METH LABS AND COCAINE AND HEROIN SMUGGLERS. LEAVE POT ALONE.

    August 22, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jennie

    Horrible idea. Weed is safer than cigarettes. But I am now truly convinced that it is this government's wish and plan for people to be destroyed. Smh.

    August 22, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
    • claybigsby

      The government could care less if people are destroyed or are healthy. All they care about is $$$$

      August 22, 2012 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  9. anne

    Dopes smoking dope. Don't you get it Drug Cartels. Not nice guys. Public Lands, not theirs.

    August 22, 2012 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  10. STEWnomics

    Value of crop destroyed ZERO

    Price increase on inventory due to publishing this story $1B

    August 22, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  11. Morons

    The federal government is full if idiots.

    August 22, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  12. Noah

    Legalize it, grow it properly, tax the heck out of it, and control the product.

    August 22, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • elperro

      ^^^What he said.

      August 22, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • levi

      Plus add into all the extra taxes collected on munchie products.

      August 22, 2012 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Bluejeans

      YES! legalize marijuana. Why keep it illegal?!

      August 22, 2012 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      minus all the gdp and taxes from a productive, motivated workforce

      August 22, 2012 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
    • lman

      Don't forget the reduced strain on our overtaxed justice and prison systems. Also, use the additional tax revenue to support addiction treatment and education.

      August 22, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • claybigsby

      "minus all the gdp and taxes from a productive, motivated workforce"

      LOL you are so misinformed its laughable...actually you made my morning so thank you. I smoke pot everyday. I have a 50hr a week job, make $100k/yr, own my own house and have a BMW M5 and Benz E55 AMG. Oh and I pay for my own health insurance and I pay taxes. There are MANY MANY MANY more people like me.

      Think about all of the jobs that could be created just from the legalization of the plant. And I am not just talking about smoke able marijuana, which would create jobs. I am talking about the hemp industry, which can be used for thousands of different things, which would create jobs, put disposable income in people pockets who would spend that in our economy.

      You have no idea what you are talking about.

      August 22, 2012 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
    • rick

      If it is legal, people can grow their own. Unless it is sold, it is not subject to tax

      August 22, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • glaw

      So why should the government tax it at all beyond a simple sales tax as other products. It is a plant, like a tomato plant. So called sin taxes only serve to limit freedom and siphon money out of your pocket. The replies with the statement "tax the hell out of it" are ridiculous. How about lets get the government out of our lives as much as possible.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. GOP hate America

    wow thats 1Billion out of our economy.

    August 22, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ty

    Legalize and tax it!

    August 22, 2012 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  15. Me

    Good, frigging drug addicts..

    August 22, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      The drug addicts come out of hospitals, not from smoking what god gave us.

      August 22, 2012 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Reasonable

      Ah, the sweet sounds of ignorance.

      August 22, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
    • glaw

      I suppose you would freak out if you only knew how many lawyers, doctors, professors, teachers and other professionals enjoy a good toke. They seem to function and excel just fine in society.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37