$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. Portland tony

    Now we have to give that billion to Mexican and other foreign entrepreneurs. After all, people wouldn't grow it, if there wasn't somebody wanting to buy it.

    August 22, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  2. This is Weak

    What a lie, trash, what kind of trash do you mean?

    August 22, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. mike223

    Mexican cartels own California.

    August 22, 2012 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  4. t3chsupport

    Let it grow wild.

    August 22, 2012 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  5. Scott

    @Let it be... it's (for the time being) an illegal drug and the police got rid of $1 Billion worth of it. How is that any less important than getting rid of $1B worth of meth or illegal prescription drugs?

    August 22, 2012 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • rick

      i think $1B of meth is a hell of a lot more dangerous than that of weed

      August 22, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • hooah86

      That's like saying beer is no different than white lightening.

      August 22, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Enlighten me.
    If pot isn't addictive, why do users keep buying and stealing it?
    I smoked cigarettes for more than 28 years, and had to be hospitalized for three days. I've been clean for four years and will be on blood pressure medicine the rest of my life. Your telling me if I had smoked pot for 28 years the outcome wouldn't of been the same?
    Bring it on.

    August 22, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • rick

      Yes, that is what we are telling you

      August 22, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • gracko

      A simple "Google" of "What chemicals are in cigarettes" will enlighten you.

      August 22, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • ZOOEY ZALAGER

      You're right. We should make anything addictive illegal then. Good idea.

      August 22, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • rick

      If cars are not addictive, why do people keep on buying and stealing them?

      If TV is not addictive, why do people keep on buying and stealing them?

      What makes you think your blood pressure issue is due to your tobacco usage and not some other lifestyle or genetic influence?

      August 22, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      You DO realize that cigarettes contain a lot of chemicals (the lesser dangerous one being the addictive nicotine) in addition to the smoke, don't you? No, of course you don't. Smoking pot through a vaporizer is incomparably safer than smoking cigarettes.

      August 22, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • msmello

      Never mind the fact that smoking causes emphasema and lung cancer. Never mind the fact it causes bone loss resulting in your teeth falling out and never mind the fact that drug addictions destroy families and relationships. And let's not never mind the fact that they were growing it on federal land which they have no right to do. If you really think your life is better with drugs I wish you lots of luck with that.

      August 22, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • SpeakTruth

      Did you know you can bake marijuana and eat it and it will have virtually zero harmful effect on your body?

      This aside from the fact that it is now common knowledge (also proven by vast studies) that marijuana is way less harmful than cigarettes. Look it up with a simple google search.....

      Wait is that bells ringing? I think someone just got SCHOOLED.

      August 23, 2012 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
  7. hooah86

    Yea, great idea CO. So in addition to our tax $$ being spent to combat these killer pot growers, we need to pay out more in taxes to build more prisons. Or do we let people like murderers, robbers and rapists out to make room for the pot heads?

    August 22, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  8. Druggie

    Really drugggies? Are the doctors who prescribe it also druggies? what about the leadership of all the states in which it is legal for medical purposes. Are they all druggies? Since this is obviously a negative statement, you are incredibly ignorant especially when you call yourslef an observer! If these people are just druggies then you are just another ignorant small life "observer".

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

      doctors prescribing it?? get real. i know about 5 people in my bldg that have 'medical marijuana cards' who admit they dont have any medical need but got the card for about $50 from some crack pot, pun intended, doc's office. now the bldg where is live smell like that a combination of skunk and BO all day long from these no life stoners. the smoke seeps into my home, my clean clothes wreak of the smell of pot. so unfortunately, even though i love where i live and its convenient to my work i have to move futher away, spend more $$ in gas because of these pot smokers!

      August 22, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  9. Andrew

    And how much did this cost the taxpayer? Cannabis in the hands of youth is not a good thing, but cannabis in the hands of those suffering debilitating illness may be acceptable. States are decriminalizing this. Let's focus on hard drugs that have a real social cost instead of trying to eradicate cannabis.

    August 22, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  10. Doug

    Legalize it. Regulate it. Tax it.

    August 22, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  11. Nicholas Marcovecchio

    ALL farmers growing ANYTHING do that!!!! Pesticides and this and that... For gods sake have any of you heard of the dust bowl? Farmers have always been damaging land... Not all but many that mass produce genetically altered food for, say, fast food companies do. They should have just made them stop on public land. Buy your own land for your own pot. Destroying land is what us Americans apparently do... they are no different. Only because it's a drug and hot topic of the day. Alcohol is a worse drug and no one with any statistical knowledge on the subject and common sense can refute that. Even doctors wont tell you legal drugs are safer. This is only such a big deal because it's on public lands and that I agree shouldn't be.

    August 22, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  12. Observing Canadian

    So you are a dope?

    August 22, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  13. poisonousroot

    The government doesn't need a billion? You've got to be kidding. For the record: my first smoke was in 50 at age seven, while lying on the grass with pachucos in National City, Ca. This white guy of Baptist orgins has had many hits through the decades, several bongs and a puff of a few blunts (made me cough). In Pahoa, Hawaii last year, I visited my son and locals met on the law loking out over the Pacific and smoked and drank beers. Nobody gets wasted. My point: I have never owned weed or grown weed, never bought any at any time. This is for sure, folks, the highest I have ever gotten is from Wild Turkey or Jack Daniesl or two six packs or Margarittas. I'll be damn, I just don't get all the hype by anti drug affecianados about POT. It is pure nonsense. It is as if alsohol is the gift of Jesus now. Few if any of us give a hoot how loaded you get on booze. Legalization will happen, but don't expect the jailing system, DEA and other working stiffs to give up their source of intertainment soon!

    August 22, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  14. Aaron

    Federal pot raids are an enormous waste of time and money

    August 22, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  15. Chris

    I need me a job wasting taxpayers money and taking over 2 months to do so...

    August 22, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
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