$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. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Jeff Frank is a punk. Yes I am. And I just can't wait for the day when you can execute a Search Warrant on an Internet Protocol address 🙂

    August 23, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • leroy

      jeff needs a bong hit for sure he's all tense

      August 23, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      "And I just can't wait for the day when you can execute a Search Warrant on an Internet Protocol address"

      are you a cop, boy?

      August 23, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. 1stSig

    Somewhere a pothead is crying out, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!"

    August 23, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. MrsHinNH

    over ONE BILLION DOLLARS destroyed? WHEN will the Government realize that PEOPLE, American People WILL smoke pot REGARDLESS if it is legal or not. SO...legalize and just think WHAT we could have done with our FEDERAL DEBT with a ONE BILLION DOLLAR payment for selling it LEGALLY? NOT to mention the taxes they could also have collected off this. It grows "wild" and "will" grow – it's a weed. Americans need to realize that cigarettes and alcohol are FAR WORSE then pot. Get with the times – instead of fighting a losing battle, save the money from fighting pot to harder drugs, man-made drugs, heroin, coke, meth, anyone? Exactly. Control it. It's awesome, that once again, we let one billion, yes BILLION dollars go up "in smoke".

    August 23, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. pm

    Serious crime is at an all time low in America and most of the major crimes still being committed are done by gangs fighting over the easy money made by the illegal drug trade. Just like the killings in Chicago stpped after prohibition was overturned, much of the crime, especially by gangs and the Cartels would simply vanish. You can tax it to help local economies who are suffering because of the Tea Party of No preventing any needed tax increase. Why aren't the Republicans up in arms over the Federal Government trampling States Rights? These States passed laws in referendums in legal elections. Why should the Feds be able to "raid" a legal grow operation? i know that much of this pot is grown on Federal land illegally by Cartels and gangs and i don't have any problem with the Feds shutting these down, but they are also raiding private property in states that have legal growing operations.

    August 23, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jesus Christ Superstar

    “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.

    Um, that sounds like its more of a firearms problem than a weed problem.

    August 23, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. pm

    Pot farms do no more damage than any farming operation and much less than many agriculture systems. Another lie spread by our Government to justify thier giant war on drugs budget, while half of America is addicted to pills of some sort, either legally from thier doctors or from buying rx's on the black market. We are spending billions on this rediculas war on drugs and the localities, law enforcement, the courts and jails are very happy spending hundreds of billions of dollars fighting a phoney war. Make pot legal and other hard drugs penalties more severe and prison spending goes down, courts can oerate efficiently, police have the resources to catch real criminals and on top of all that saving, you can also tax it. Sounds like a win-win-win-win to me...

    August 23, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • ConcernedCitizen

      II agree with you 100%, legalization of marijuana has been long overdue. How much more time and TAXPAYER money must be wasted on this senseless attack on an herbal plant? It could actually be bringing in dollars to ease our national debt and provide relief to those who need it. It's time for us to come together and make this a reality to help future generations.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    I just don't know how they do that. Toke and type.

    August 23, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Are you still there Mr. Stoned?

    August 23, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Wow Mr. stoned you really pack a wallop with those almost cuss words you post. My jaw still is hurting. You talk more like an ex-con out on parole.

    August 23, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ummyeah

    damn, I was wondering why my guys was charging more....

    August 23, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Gee your too high strung out, to be a pot head, Mr.Stoned. My guess is your strung out on something else to give the little pothead a boost. Your probably on crack cocaine or even more closer to the truth meth amphetamine. Is the punk that can't even serve as a beeotch to your dog right? Or maybe you be huff'in spray paint. Are your brain cells dead with laquer running out of your nostrils?

    August 23, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Aren't you going to sell me some sh!t Mr. Stoned? I am very disappointed with you and all your little liberal and communist pothead friends.

    August 23, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    MARIJUANA HAS NEVER BEEN, OR IS CURRENTLY, OR EVER WILL BE, LEGALIZED AND BECOME SUBJECTED TO TAXATION. DONE DEAL!

    August 23, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • leroy

      god bless the dea eda tsa gsa etc. those are the ones we need to worry about

      August 23, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      It will be legalized, no matter what some inbred right wing punk from ohio claims

      August 28, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Chris

    Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

    August 23, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Richard

    They should be doing the same with the pot users.

    August 23, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      Richard....come and get us.

      August 28, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
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