Though much of the news involving national parks and marijuana plantations has been focused on Sequoia National Park, a bust the other day in Yosemite shows that that park has some pretty fertile ground for pot as well.
On Monday rangers in Yosemite raided three marijuana gardens and confiscated nearly 7,500 plants with an estimated street value of $22 million.
"The illegal cultivation sites bore the characteristics of a Mexican drug-trafficking enterprise, including a sophisticated watering system, use of fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides," say park officials, who didn't identify where in the park the pot gardens were.
Chief Ranger Steve Shackelton says the park is working with several California counties, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, and other national parks to mount a comprehensive campaign against the California-based crime families "that often use illiterate and financially desperate Mexican nationals to do the actual cultivation."
"For years we've been seeing these people make millions of dollars in profit, while they devastate the environment on private property and California's majestic public lands. They destroy habitat, pollute streams with poisons and nitrogen fertilizers, kill wildlife, and pose a fire threat. The only thing missing is public outrage," says the chief ranger.
While it's good to hear parks are trying to crack down on marijuana cultivation within their borders, the problem isn't new and seems to be ongoing, which makes me wonder whether the Park Service truly has the resources it needs to combat this practice?