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Pot Farmers Tilling Ground in Yosemite

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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?

Comments

We can't stop it. It's supply and demand just like any other business.


Drugs are a serious problem and seeing these marijuana plantations makes me think about how serious the problem really is. Drug smugglers are really powerful, they keep pushing drugs down to the market and the result is mostly disastrous. How can we stop this?
Drug rehab facility


I wonder how many users/contributors of this site have used cannabis in national parks? I bet the answer would surprise many. The secret life of drugs in park, indeed.


It is not the government's business what I choose to voluntarily ingest into my own body. As long as I am not harming other people it remains a victimless act, no worse or better than sitting down this afternoon and belching my way through six cans of beer while watching the Georgia-South Carolina game.

Let's start to save the wild places from illegal cultivators by allowing everyone the right to grow the stuff in their own yard or apartment window box. As long as it remains illegal it will always attract criminals, because the artificially high market price created by its illegality is too much of lure for those wishing to cash in (just like the prohibition of alcohol created the greatest crime wave in U.S. history).

Let's go after real criminals and leave the personal decisions of adults about what they choose to ingest up to their own discretion. By the way, hemp is a wonderfully renewable and adaptable resource that is being unfairly restricted just because some finger wagging nanny-state power mongers are afraid someone might grow a little smokable bud out in the green fastness of their hemp field. God forbid! It would be just like restricting the cultivation of corn because some folks make some moonshine from it. Oh the HORRORS!

Is it too much to ask to be left alone and not have the government trying to regulate every aspect of people's personal behavior. Unfortunately I think most of you out there support Big Brother and his crusade to save us from ourselves.


There are ONLY 20 million daily pot smokers???? I have a feeling that is a count of the people who ADMIT to a daily habit and not a realistic number of all daily pot smokers. I am going to guess that the number is much higher, at least double that figure. The solution to the problem lies with us and we are the only ones who have any chance of coming up with a sloution. Past experience has proven that the issue is too volatile for any politician to want to get involved. A candidate who publically takes either side of the issue is committing political suicide. If we wish to be responsible citizens, we have only two choices: 1 - stop smoking pot unless we are growing it illegally for our own consumption (which is never going to happen...daily pot smokers tend to be lazy and not all that industrious) or 2 - legalize marijuana. The latter option seems more feasible. I am not here to promote the use of marijuana, simply to say that illegal usage of marijuana is here to stay unless we change the laws and remove its illegal status. To be honest, as intoxicants are concerned, I think marijuana is probably the least toxic and poses the least threat to the general public, unless of course, you find shelves stripped of Oreos and milk and the general apathetic attitude of the user to be of major concern or threat to our society.
Sherry


From the NPS website, 31 August:

Whiskeytown National Recreation Area (CA)
Grower Arrested In Marijuana Plantation Raid

Acting on information received from a California National Guard drug interdiction helicopter pilot returning from a reconnaissance flight in an adjoining county, an NPS special agent and deputies from the Shasta County Sheriffs Office marijuana eradication team conducted a ground reconnaissance of a suspected cultivation site complex operated by Mexican nationals near the west boundary of the park on Willow Creek. Agents located and entered a 6,428-plant cultivation site and apprehended Francisco Huato Sanchez of Michoacan, Mexico, when he exited a living structure where he was cooking breakfast. Sanchez was contacted from a distance of less than six feet and immediately surrendered. He was armed with a loaded .45 caliber Llama Model 1911 semiautomatic pistol. A .22 caliber revolver, a pellet gun and two 12 gauge shotgun rounds were also located at the site, but no shotgun was found. It’s possible that a second grower fled the scene during the arrest of Sanchez. Prosecution is pending in federal court in the Eastern District of California. A significant portion of Whiskeytown NRA remains closed for visitor safety due to the possibility that a second grower armed with a shotgun is at large. [Submitted by Alan Foster, Special Agent]


that's funny. the national guard will cause more environmental damage going after the growers than the growers themselves cause.


Well you can petition your representatives to repeal the Posse Comitatus Act which has been in effect since the days of Reconstruction....or.....(much easier) get them to just enforce the laws on the books now using more ICE and DEA with the help of the NPS.


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