$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. infidelbob

    This is supposed to be a free country. Legalize it.

    August 29, 2012 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  2. Alyssa

    Personaly i dont smoke, but i do think its a big money loss. I feel like this is going to affect people that do smoke medical marijuana. All tho alot of people that do smoke medical marijuana dont really need it. They come up with diffrent resonas of why they need to, just to be able to have the feeling of being high

    August 29, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  3. WiseWoman

    The real reason it is illegal has nothing to do with it being dangerous (which it is not) it is more about the companies that will lose money because hemp is an amazing product that can be used for paper, clothing and medicine. Read the real history that has been suppressed in the US about Hemp. Our government is burning money by burning these crops. We could save our economy by making it legal. Do your research and start fighting the US's modern witch hunt on a plant that could turn this country around.

    August 29, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  4. cheech y chong

    where did my comment go??

    August 29, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Comment #1000:
    Marijuana hasn't been legal, is not currently legal, and never will be legal. Case closed.
    This thread is now a permalink but still about $1 billion in pot being burned.
    Here you are, into September, still whinning and serving your self abasement, with your little pot head dreams. It's done.

    September 5, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
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