$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. john phillips souza

    Just liketo make a few points. 1 what i have read sickens me because it plays right into the hands of those who wish to divide, iknow both conservatives and liberals who support the legalization of pot. 2 Lets try to stick to the facts, prescription drugs, alchol and tobacco kill millions of americans. 3 It is way wrong to grow anything on our land without our permission"and it's our land". 4 i used to live in northen california and it is a safety issue for especially my friends that worked in the forestry service. 5 it was a collossal waste of our money. 6 alcohol and tobacco alone do tremendous enviromental damage not to mention commercial farming and we susidize all of them. 7 drug companies are laughing all the ay to the bank "i was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a year ago and the only way i can keep down food or meds is pot and my doctors tried everything it's illegal in my state." 8 preconceptions and prejudie fuel an argument based in fear"i am highly eduated and succesfull retired at 40 and fought a 20 year battle with booze 1 day at a time so i am not one who takes any kind of drug lightly. 9 we as a nation are in deep trouble, but have the means to get out of this mess, however it seems we lack the will,legalization of pot is only part of the solution but the greatest benefit is not taxes it's savings and alocation of assets or should we continue to cut education health care social security and ignore our infrastructure.10 most of te world is way ahead of us on ths issue and look at us like idiots. 11 our congress is full of a bunch of self serving panderers out only for themselves both dems and republicans and they all need to go.actually i think maybe 10 people in cngress are decent but 3 are retire this year. 13 if we do legalize pot the rest need to go so VOTE PEOPLE VOTE and hopefully my two daughters will have a beter world!!!!

    August 23, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Phil Rabe

    How much will this operation cost? Judging by the size and scope and the amount of federal bureaucracy involved, I'd imagine they spent about $1 per dollar confiscated. Cost effective to net 11 or 12 people and some weed?

    August 23, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ponderinglife

    I don't use pot, so I'm not being self-serving here as I type this while drinking a beer. However, if this was legalized, sold only to adults, and taxed like alcohol, what a great source of revenue this would be for the government! In addition they'd save a bundle by not paying law enforcement and DEA personnel to find and destroy these operations.

    August 23, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. papa

    If this was legalized (as it should be and regulated just like alcohol) and that community imposed even just a 1% sales tax on it, they would have netted 10 million dollars in revenue for their community

    August 23, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lefty Capuccino

    This anti marijuana policy is a job killer. It's time to take this enterprise out of the hands of criminals and give the states a new revenue stream. Stop wasting the time and resources of law enforcement, they are already stretched thin.

    August 23, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. truth

    such silly madness over such a simple plant. but god bless those hopps huh? marijuana needs to be legalized and society needs to take a closer look at the use of alcohol

    August 23, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. OkayMan

    Man if we legalized weed, the money we could save. It is a plant, a harmless plant.

    August 23, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • gager

      Spoken like a true druggy.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Agreed, and Gager do some research before making a judgement on something. With correct regulation marijuana would be a safer option than alcohol.

      August 24, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. icetrout

    Such a shame the Federal Government has become the enemy of U.S.Citizens.Public Servants need a good beat-down...

    August 23, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • leroy

      i cannot say it better

      August 23, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Gee Gog

    I would have been pleased to help them burn it.

    August 23, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      i agree. a little bit at at time

      August 24, 2012 at 8:01 am | Report abuse |
  10. Billy Turd

    Absolutely ridiculous. What a pony charade.

    August 23, 2012 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ericgoestoholland

    1 billion dollars worth of pot that we could have taxed.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
  12. kelly

    Wow, thanks government, for wasting time and money on killing plants, when there is literally an endless list of other things that require your attention.

    August 24, 2012 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
  13. lynn

    nnnnnnoooooooooooo !

    August 24, 2012 at 7:05 am | Report abuse |
  14. mjparme

    What a waste of taxpayer money, the government is actually trying to hunt down and kill plants. Why? The War on Drugs should just end, all drugs should be legal. What someone puts in their body is their business and their business alone. If someone consumes drugs and then harms someone then charge them for that, but leave the people that can use drugs and still be productive citizens alone.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  15. gager

    Drugs change people, it makes them stupid.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Pika

      I guess you have never taken adderall then? I bet there are lots of pot smokers that would take you to the cleaners in many different subjects.

      August 24, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • disagree

      No it does not!!!! i mean your probably a goodie goodie who has never tried it so do judge someone or something for that matter if you have no idea what your talking about!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Please and thank you!

      August 24, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
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