$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. Pika

    And all these ignorant fools think one day people are going to smoke pot so we should keep on fighting the war they think they can win.....what a bunch of complete knumbskulls. Just legalize it already, isn't it obvious that most of the country thinks the law is worthless and doesn't obide by it anyways. Having laws that people know are stupid will generate a culture of people that think they don't need to obey lots of other laws. It is best to get rid of the silly dog and pony show laws such as marijuana prohibition so the government can start to at least try to regain the trust of the citizens. Who trusts a government that tells the public that some plant will ruin society?....Only fools.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • agree

      Yep i completly agree with you!!! Just make legal already!!! It will save alot of time and money for the government!

      August 24, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  2. jaws1422

    1 billion dollars of pot destroyed? WHAT ARE THEY STONED?

    August 24, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  3. Bob

    At least use that one billion dollars to pay off the debt. Why is out government buring away money and then still dont practice responsible spending.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jason

    Good thing the infrastructure in this country is perfect or else I would have said we probably could have used that $1 Billion to build schools, roads, and bridges.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  5. Will

    i know the counrtys in bad shape but dont take it out on the pot

    August 24, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  6. WiseWoman

    The only thing pot is going to hurt is the big pharmaceutical companies and the prison industry. For those two reasons we will probably never see legalization in this country.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  7. Dumbpolitics

    That is alot of potential tax revenue what a waste. It is time to legalize pot and tax the heck out of it. It would e a better than to keep fighting this stupid drug war that has never worked. Just like trickle down economics. Think of all the tax money we could make.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • P.J.

      Completely agree with the taxaction of pot, but Trickle Down Economics does work, see early 80's boom, after Reagan lowered taxes.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Ali

      It is very likely that the social costs that would result from legalizing marijuana (without properly regulating it....and I haven't seen any legislation yet that would) would incur more costs than taxing it and therefore render that idea less beneficial in a monetary sense.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jorge

    Dang, the price of weed is going up now.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Realist

      LMFAO ... Yes it is Jorge, Yes it is...

      August 24, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  9. gk

    How much is this operation going to cost? I bet millions.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  10. Mark

    Legalize it. End prohibition. Simple simple simple. No more wasted dollars and lives, no more damage to public lands. Use the money to attack the meth problem.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Ali

      There is no longitudinal research to support the fact that marijuana does not cause major health problems. Its affects are just less acute than meth...doesn't mean it is not just as harmful. We should probably know what the long term affects of its use are before we legalize it. Most doctors say that it isn't even helpful for the majority of the conditions that it is prescribed for and could be causing major health risks. I say they spend more time researching and figuring out how to best regulate instead of legalizing it on a impulse because the general public thinks it is harmless.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      Ali: Really? As dangerous as meth? How much (more) evidence do you need?

      And, is the criminal justice system the right authority to deal with what is (at worst) a public health issue?

      August 26, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Realist

    THis was a waste of read. Literally, pot plans destroy vegetation, and pollute the earth??? LOL its a freakin plant. I hope my tax dollars are not being wasted on world "landscaping", and "uprooting" weeds. Just make it legal already.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  12. Dr.GreenThumb

    People take a step back and read all of these comments. 90% of posters on here think it should be legal, why isn't it then?

    This clearly shows the many flaws in our system. This clearly shows your votes DONT count for squat.

    Your masters only give you the illusion that you have a choice.

    August 24, 2012 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • P.J.

      It'll be leagle. 90% of the posts on this site are being computer literate, under 40 year old, men. Once the old population, that believes pot is as bad as meth, heroine, cocaine, etc dies off, it will be legalized.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Ali

      I am definitely under 40 and know for a fact that pot has not received enough research attention to just legalize it. It would be irresponsible to do so. If they find out through longitudinal research that it doesn't cause the problems that many researchers and doctors think it might, THEN legalize it. We don't need to legalize it because the majority of the population smokes it and thinks it is okay.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. coreoveride

    I say we just need to start throwing our seeds out on public land (near police stations, courthouses, state parks, federal parks, etc) and letting them grow naturally. If we all do this we will overwhelm all the enforcement agencies effectively forcing them to decide between doing their jobs or trying to eradicate a harmless WEED. Give it some time and the people will rise up against them en-mass due to them preferring to be gardeners instead of LEOs.
    So instead of throwing your seeds away in the trash just toss em out anywhere they will be a nuisance to these puppet agencies.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Bough

      If you know anything about weed, you should know that you can't just toss seeds and have them grow miraculously. It's people like you who give the legalization backers a bad name. Bring some kind of intelligence to the discussion or sit quietly and listen.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Philadelphia Collins

      Good idea... in theory. BUT, you better do it before the domestic drones are implemented. I bet the DEA is salivating over the idea of using drones to eradicate pot fields.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. zoyster1

    The good news is that it'll grow back.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  15. Huh?

    Gee – if we legalize it we can tax it at 35-45% annually and the budget deficit goes to zero in about 10 years.

    August 24, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Ali

      Marijuana has not been studied enough for everyone to be declaring that it should just be legalized. Are we researchers? Doctors? Just because we may have smoked it doesn't mean we should be able to declare it safe in the long term. The social costs of legalizing would be overwhelming. We need to understand it first. I would be all for legalizing it if there was data to back it up, but there isn't. I would also legalize it if they regulated it and actually prescribed it properly for conditions it could be useful in treating.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      Ali: How much longer does it need to be studied?

      August 28, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
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