$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. w2lucky

    Economically speaking, I am amazed that California and Government agencies have the money to waste on something like this. Decriminalizing and taxing marijuana is a a bounty just waiting to be absorbed. California more than any state needs this income and instead they hyprocritcally smoke the stuff at night and pretend it is evil and burn the crops during the day. Wake up people!

    August 22, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  2. vatoloke

    Cyer Klanning are we? Hiding behind your monitor instead of in that pointy white hood?

    August 22, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  3. hemplover

    Marijuana and hemp are drought-resistant and can be grown without pesticides or fertilizers. The only crime is that this native, harmless, beneficial herb is banned.

    August 22, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • doughnuts

      And far less damaging to the soil than other fiber sources like cotton.

      August 22, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. sam stone

    Come and get us, big mouth

    August 22, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  5. Cora LDS

    I'm not a troll. My grand kids have one of those VW micro busses. They have flowers and peace signs painted all over it. Can't tell the boys from the girls with their long hair. Plus they listen to these crazy musical groups like Canned Heat and Jefferson Airplane. Buncha hippies.

    August 22, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • doughnuts

      No, you aren't a troll. You do seem to be a time-traveler, though.

      August 22, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bcinwi

    i like how the government wastes our tax paying dollars....leave the herb alone and do something that matters

    August 22, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  7. fistface

    Trillions of Taxpayer dollars spent trying to fight a weed that could actually boost our economy, create products, and help our Nation get greener. Neither current Political Party is your friend folks. None of them serve the mass majority. If you wanted change 4 years ago... you should have put forward candidates that where not Republican or Democrat in all the Political Offices.

    August 22, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  8. Sane mind

    Ban marijuana, alcohol, and cigarettes. Mind altering or poisonous drugs need to be eradicated

    August 22, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • San

      Food can also be mind altering. Ban food also!

      August 22, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Ashland

      You just altered my mind.

      JAIL YOU

      August 22, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Sane mind

      San you're reaching.

      August 22, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      Yeah, sane mind, alcohol prohibiton worked so well the first time around.

      August 22, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • doughnuts

      Meditation and prayer have been shown to have mind-altering effects. Shall we ban those, too?

      August 22, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Pigs need to fly, monkeys need to play chess, and I need a golden toilet. Let's deal with reality as it is shall we? The reality is you're not going to eliminate the use and production of poisonous and mind-altering drugs. So then you have to start looking at your priorities. How much of the world are you willing to burn down to destroy what percent of the drugs, decreasing usage by how much? That's something to actually think about, instead of just saying "The impossible needs to be possible."

      August 22, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jeff

    Only reason this is done on federal, protected land is because it's illegal to do it out in the open.

    August 22, 2012 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  10. justin

    Why can't we just secretly sell it back to the third world countries that bring it here? Last time I checked we could use a billion or two. And the last time I checked, we do shady stuff like that alllllll the time.

    August 22, 2012 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  11. mike

    Lrn2 spell/grammar

    August 22, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  12. San

    We are all total losers. Period! Look at the Arab Spring..there are people who have won against well armed dictatorial governments, gained democracy – and we haven`t been able to have a silly plant decriminalized for the last 50-60 years. Don`t get me started on the occupy wall street movement. Don`t blame the government...blame ourselves.

    August 22, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  13. Doktor Theo

    You don't even know what's in the food you eat or the prescription drugs you take. So don't go telling me that you know what's inside of chewing tobacco for crying out loud.

    August 22, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  14. Mike

    We're just staying the course. Arrest as many as they can to fill the lawyers pockets, continue to grow the prison industry, pay the judges, impose a police state in this nation and make sure every citizen has some kind of police record.

    August 22, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  15. Doktor Theo

    Actually, marijuanna was made illegal the year DuPont invented synthetic hemp. (Nylon, 1936) It could have been '37. 🙂 Long time ago.
    Let's hope they never invent synthetic water.

    August 22, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Ionic1

      They also developed the Hemp Gin to process natural hemp about that time. It last longer than cotton, holds color better, and takes less ink to print on than pulp made paper. The cotton growers and tree industry helped to kill hemp in the USA... Always follow the money...

      August 22, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • jt

      They also made pot look bad, and used racism to power the stereotype, by showing african americans mad with rage raping white women, look it up.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
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