$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. Majestic Lizard

    1 Billion dollars of pot. 13+ trillion debt. Our government should sell this pot to us.

    August 27, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan Crocker

      Too late, its ashes now. Maybe they will sell you that for compost?

      August 28, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carlissa

      Totally AGREE.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jake

    And how much of this is actually being protected by the Government? It is all for show people. I know a former military soldier who had the sole duty to guard a field of marijuana. He said you could tell when elections were coming because black suv's would swarm the area, they would kill off about an acre of pot, the politician would step infront of a camera appearing committed to the war on drugs...then they would leave, with a huge field still remaining to be guarded. Wake up people, your government is the drug dealer.

    August 27, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. JP

    We could possibly be out of the national debt if the just legalized it.

    August 27, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan Crocker

      Right. And up with millions more low IQ morons who have no desire to become productive members of society.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Randy

    They, the U.S. Government should lease out plots of land to cannabis farmers. Of course they should make it legal and set up the rules involved in the entire process before the election. Why would Moses bring the seeds on the Ark if it was bad?

    August 28, 2012 at 6:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan Crocker

      I believe that was Noah. Smoke much pot?

      August 28, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bob

    So they can frack and mine on public lands and that doesn't destroy the environment but this is viewed as an environmental outrage?

    August 28, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. joe d

    what a waste..our government and law enforcement are a bunch of low-life pigs..now go have a drink and kill someone while drivein drunk dirtbags...Big Pharm and Big booze co.s can blow me to

    August 28, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Turd Furgeson

    "The poisons they spread kill wildlife and native plants and pollute watersheds" SINCE WHEN DO THE FEDS CARE ABOUT THAT?!

    August 28, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • david sutton

      Our country is so wastefull. All of those plants should be composted or processed through an anaerobic digester for the production of both energy and a fertilizer by-product. Especially if you buy-into the theory of peak phosphorus.

      We really need to grow into a more sustainable and effecient culture.

      August 28, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Kristi

    At 10%, that's 100 MILLION dollars in tax revenue burned.

    August 28, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • mcwsunshine

      Who pays these taxes? The illegal growers, the illegal users or the California unicorns?

      August 28, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • CALEBS

      @mcwsunshine, The tax would come from the PAYING people that WANT that crop or product. Just like a sales tax! Also if there were LEGAL grow sites, there would be less illegal grow sites! Just like when alcohol was illegal more people made stills and bath tub liquor. Far less people do it now because it's easier to go to the store and buy it than make your own! SAME GOES WITH HEMP!!

      August 28, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jim B

    $1,000,000,000 x 3% = $30,000,000 in potential tax earnings burned. And how much did this operation cost? Thank you Republican politics. You guys just keep on pumpin out those guns and never mind the devil that is weed that has killed a whopping 0.00000000% of users.

    August 28, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JDavis

    End the drug wars. If you are selected for a jury and it's a pot case, vote not guilty NO MATTER WHAT.

    August 28, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Blue Lake

    Green = green. Legalize it and tax it. More tax revenue = greater enforcement $ towards eliminating illiegal grows on land the gorwers don't own. It may also introduce grow standards. Why is that important? The herbicide, pesticide and rodenticides used to maxamize a harvest are not safe for human consumption...you're smoking those chemicals.

    August 28, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • mcwsunshine

      Maybe the intelligent answer is don't smoke it?

      August 28, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      Maybe the intellligent thing to do is to realize that people do consume it, and it's prohibition is a massively failed policy

      August 28, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. hillbillynwv

    We should had sold it to China to pay off our debt!

    August 28, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. obi wan

    Package it, sell it and tax it. Let's make some money off this.. I mean really, who has a problem with it any more?

    August 28, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fast Fred

      Well if were going to do that , why not a use tax for corn or red beans or water mellon. Stevie Ray Vaughan...sang it best
      with "Tax Man".

      August 28, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Chico

    AUTHOR ! AUTHOR ! ................................who the H wrote this? The use of the adjectives and what not!
    .......seriously.who wrote this?

    August 28, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Chico

    "... 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."

    HELP!! I've fallen and I can't get up!!!!!!!!!.......................................................horse poop!!

    August 28, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
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