$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. dreg


    August 22, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      You took the word right out of my mouth.

      August 22, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  2. MrGreen

    Look I'm all for the feds arresting people that are damaging lands in national parks. If Marijuana was legal nobody would be using federal lands to grow it(and it should be legal). They've only made 14 arrests? While they have destroyed over 500k plants? I'm sorry but how is it a productive use of tax dollars for police to essentially be extremely well paid gardeners and pull plants out of the ground instead of locking up people who actually do harm to our society.

    August 22, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • IAMBeowolf

      The issue here is growing on public land is done by mexican cartels which they don't fully say in article. The 'real' growers are on private land and do this without all the destruction.

      August 22, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©

    Legalize it, gather it up, slap a tax on it, and pay down the debt.
    It being on Federal land, and all.

    August 22, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • tjp44

      AMEN....and bring the cartels to financial ruin as the pot is 70% of theie revenues......

      August 22, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  4. Stopthemadness

    More proof of government waste of time money and resources.

    August 22, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  5. Techno Viking

    I have a police officer friend who works in drug enforcement. He has been on several raids of grow operations. He told me when they find the plants they pull them, roots and all, and weigh them. They take that weight and use that amount times the street value of pot to come up with the dollar value released to the media. Complete crap since the refined amount of pot will be a fraction of that. Sounds better to the press though. Gotta make it seem like they are making progress in the war on drugs

    August 22, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  6. FAIL

    Shame really. Yet they still let people drink all the alcohol they want.

    August 22, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  7. tjp44

    never going to happen..........war on drugs is a failure and Romney realizes that and will not pursue it....just like obama

    August 22, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  8. patric

    wow, leave it up to our stubborn ass government to just waste 1billion like that, why not its not like were in any debt right? Its a plant, reading this article made me sick talking about all the "harmful" chemicals and "poisions"? that they use to grow pot, they use nothing different than what farmers use when they try and grow their corn and other plants, more people die every year from alcohol than marijuana, not to mention how much money our country would make within a year if we made it legal, so frustrating that people can be so ignorant still about a plant, its the same thing as a tobbaco plant just pot smells way better and makes you feel better too, plus you wont get cancer and die from it!! theres a thought, when will our politicans realize this and stop being so stubborn and one way minded...

    August 22, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  9. tjp44

    are you kidding me.....they burn at every ski resort there...seen it myself...don't kno which rock your under, but everuy Thanksgiving college students from Calif, nevada etc., burn right there at the Mormon tabernacle square....hell, the people that designed those streeets around there had to be pot heads.....wake up and take a tour of your state!

    August 22, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  10. lance corporal

    in THIS economy we're destroying the most valuable cash crop we have????
    AND spending money we DON'T have to do it??????

    seems short sighted and stooooooopid

    August 22, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  11. Robert Gimbi Jr

    After 40 years, don't you think, you lost that war!!......another gov't spending spree to do nothing. Pot will always be here, legalize it, whiskey is killing us, not pot. Do you know of anyone who has died from pot?????

    August 22, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      40 years? more like 75. pot was prohibited in 1937

      August 22, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  12. Robert Gimbi Jr

    god put it on earth, smoke it!!!!

    August 22, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  13. History Bear

    There goes the fed again, could have sold this in the states where it's legal and helped the budget. -

    August 22, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
    • kevindaltam

      Lets say 15% tax on that, all NEW money to pay off the 1.1 trillion debt

      August 22, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • claybigsby

      "Lets say 15% tax on that, all NEW money to pay off the 1.1 trillion debt"

      Sorry but our debt is more than 1.1 trillion. More like $16 trillion. taxing at 15% (assuming the yearly sales of the drug is $25B) would net you $375M a year. Hardly enough to dent the national debt

      August 22, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  14. wyllice

    What a waste of police resources and Marijuana. I say legalize it, yeaaaah!

    August 22, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  15. WakeUp14

    Good one... thank god President George H. W Bush and President Obama never toked up!... and what would we have done if President Clinton actually INHALED?!?

    August 22, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
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