$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. SuckItUp

    such a joke. legalize the plant already. it is not a gateway drug and how many pot addicts do you see on "intervention"

    August 22, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. cyg

    I'm all for legalizing – but get these damn farms out of my mountains, they ruin the environment with their fertilizer and pesticides. WB's should be shot on site for bringing this mess into our forests...and rednecks too.

    August 22, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Matt Roeth

    I'm enormously grateful to all the government agencies that burned or otherwise destroyed all the marijuana plants INSTEAD of giving them to the drug company's who manufacture Medicinal marijuana. You see, I work at one of those pharmaceutical company's, and this is job security for me. I don't WANT them to give them over to the drug companies to get some use out of them. You see, if they did THAT, then it would drive down the cost of the drugs (a billion dollars worth annually, in this example.) Then, my Wages go down, and I could potentially be out of a Job. Same as the Companys I work for. I don't care what anybody says, I think they did the Right thing!!!

    August 22, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Spike

    And every corporation in America doesn't emit toxic gases into the air harming our environment? Please

    Also, if it were legal, there would no reason for people to guard it with guns. Make loaf bread illegal today and the grocery store will turn into an armory. That is a fact that can't be argued.

    Ultimately, cannabis comes from the Earth, so when the coppers ask you where you get it from, just say "The Earth, are you going to arrest it, too?"

    95% of people are bloody freaking stupid/

    August 22, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Sharkywaterz

    Sounds like mr lenden has bought into REEFER MADNESS

    August 22, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Krusty

    Where do I sign up to be one of the "destroyers"?

    August 22, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stan Marsh

      @Krusty: Where do I sign up to be one of the "destroyers"?

      Don't worry. You're already one of the destroyers.

      August 22, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Thinktr8

    Alcohol is far more harmful and addictive than marijuana but it is legal and pot is not. It is the drug companies and actual law enforcement that does not want it legalized. If you do not know about the drug then you should keep your opinions to yourself. One of the things people say is that is a gateway drug. The only reason it is a gateway drug is for the same reason people plant them in national parks. If you leave it up to criminals to supply the marijuana then more than likely those people are selling other drugs too. I don;'t have any pot but I do have... It is lobbying that keeps pot from being made legal...!

    August 22, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris HOnry

      As soon as pot is legalized there will be a GIANT increase in auto accidents and other deaths because of losers driving high. Weak minded mentally ill pot heads better not kill one of my family members I'll bring you to justice.

      GET HELP for your mental illness problems that make you want to escape by getting high.

      August 22, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      @Chris, please, for the sake of your family that you claim to love so much, go back to school and get an education. It's not too late, buddy. You can do it!

      August 22, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      Chris: There will be a decrease in the number of deaths, as the law would allow a less toxic (to individuals as well as society) alternative to alcohol. As far as the rest of your post, go fvck yourself, punk

      August 22, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Are you serious?!

      Disclosure – I have never used nor plan to use Marijana – I think he statistics have shown that its not a gateway drug – simply, if you're an experimenter, you might try MJ then harder drugs, and if you look at hard drug users, most of then used MJ, but most MJ users don't go on to use harder drugs. I believe that MJ should be legalized and taxed, just like Tabacco and Alcohol – the laws for DUI for should include MJ – since it takes longer to leave the system the users take an added risk from driving because even though mentally clear their blood might show THC in the system – oh well.

      Thousands are being killed in long the US mexico border – a large amount is pot, although other drugs are passing too, but I think we're missing the forest through the trees – gettiing $$ from taxes that allows for treatment programs and takes money away from drug lords and also allows enforcement funds to target the cocanie/meth subgroups instead.

      Seems like a no brainer – its unfortunate that politicians aren't brave enough to tackle this at the federal level R or D, they lack the stones to explain to the public why this would be a smart move.

      August 22, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      @Chris – [citation needed]

      Seriously. You're tossing around "facts" that you're just pulling from thin air. And, apparently, have never seen someone drive stoned. Honestly, they're likely to gte -lost- or forget where they are going, but they have an observed tendency to drive -under- the speed limit and be paranoid about staying to their lane.

      Much safer than a drunk.

      August 22, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Pppa

    I believe I am slightly downwind of where they are burning all this pot. I'm hoping they can keep the fire going through the weekend...

    August 22, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      Well, when law enforcement seizes pot, they burn it. I think that citizens should aid law enforcement by burning a llittle bit at a time.

      August 22, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • SENSI

      LMAO....Reminds me of when someone said..."I don't smoke, I just inhale"....LOL

      August 22, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Chris HOnry

    It's amazing how many mentally ill people need drugs to feel better, and never seek the help they need to work on the problems they have that cause their desire for drugs.

    August 22, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • snapnecklife

      If you correlate smoking weed to mental illness and as a means of escape from problems, either you're an undereducated fool, a troll, or a generally miserable individual to be around. Consider the deterioration of health by constantly consuming alcohol/tobacco/hard drugs.

      August 22, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      It's amazing how many mentally ill people need to call others names to feel better, and never seek the help they need to work on the problems they have that cause their desire to call others names.

      See how easy that was, D-bag?

      August 22, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ogolo

      You know your calling 50%+ of the united states mentaly ill, including The President of the United States.
      "When I was a kid I inhaled frequently. That was the point" Barack Obama

      August 22, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Winston5

    War on Drugs..................AAaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!

    August 22, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. pattic

    Legalize it, regulate it, tax it, pay down the debt and move on.

    August 22, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Larry

    what a waste.....like burning money

    August 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Stan Marsh

    The headline should actually read:

    "$1 Trillion in tax dollars destroyed in War on Drugs over past 40 years"

    August 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Daniel

    I could just cry right now. Ths is terrible! It is just a plant. People smoke it and get hungry. No hangover. Very few people feel like driving or causing fights. Sad.

    August 22, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Anomic Office Drone

    Using taxpayer money to fight a losing war on all drugs is sooo much better than legalizing and regulating Marijuana and shifting the focus to fighting hard drugs.


    August 22, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ogolo

      We are paying the government money so they can go out and destroy money. What a hypocrisy.

      August 22, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
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