Thursday, August 07, 2008

Another big bust

☛ TS Nearly 100,000 pot plants removed from remote grow
☛ ER $29.7 million in pot plants destroyed
No arrests have been made or suspects located. The investigation is on-going.


  1. We had a DEA helicopter (at least I pretty sure that is what it was based on the tail number) buzzing here in Salmon Creek yesterday.

    I noted that in the Times Standard article the author seemed surprised that CAMP was visiting so "early." The old timer in me can't help but get out my cane and wave it about grumpily. "Listen you young whippersnappers. In my day, CAMP started in early July and went until October. The skies were crawling with helicopters. I remember one day a helicopter actually landed at our school during summer session! Early...Pshaw!"

  2. :) Heh@ Remember Mad Magazine's "You Know You're Getting Old When..."

  3. Helicopters don't frighten me but the urge to say "you young whippersnapper" scares the bejeezus out of me.

  4. Humboldt got Burns and a few grow houses op So Sweep and now a 100,000 plants ...

    BUT Tulare got
    John Walters and over 3 times that many plants in one day! 340,685 !!!

    Here's some of the news on the interview and the new Operation LOCCUST "Locating Organized Cannabis Cultivators Using Saturation Tactics" 10 years min. for growing on National Forest and other public lands. Seems to be mostly Mexican nationals. The marijuana being eradicated in national parks "is not something raised by some retired hippie." says Walters ...

    Drug czar visits Tulare pot site
    New program will raid marijuana gardens of Mexican drug cartels.

    The nation's drug czar chopped down marijuana plants growing deep inside the Sequoia National Forest in Tulare County on Tuesday.

    John Walters, who holds the Cabinet-level position as director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, came to California to bring attention to a new locally coordinated, but partly federally funded, marijuana eradication program to raid marijuana gardens planted on public lands by Mexican drug cartels.

    "We intend to shoot these down," Walters said.

    U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott joined Walters in a helicopter ride to a remote location to remove plants, then both spoke at a news conference in Visalia.

    Scott said those arrested for growing 1,000 or more marijuana plants on public lands face minimum 10-year terms.

    Mandatory minimum sentences "make criminals talk," Walters said approvingly.

    "Talking criminals is what you need to go after the higher-ups."

    Mexican drug cartels are coming to the United States to grow marijuana because of tightened border security, Walters added.

    The new program the drug czar came to Tulare County to highlight has been dubbed Locating Organized Cannabis Cultivators Using Saturation Tactics. It involves 14 federal state and local law enforcement agencies, each contributing personnel and equipment, and is coordinated by the Tulare County Sheriff's Department. The department received a $200,000 grant from Office of National Drug Control Policy to find "grow sites" and raid them.

    The raids, using helicopters from the Air National Guard and involving about 220 law enforcement agencies, have targeted 63 gardens, the Sheriff's Department said. An additional 20 sites have been identified, but are still to be raided. The operation started in late July and will continue until all have been raided, officials said.

    So far, 340,685 plants have been discovered, and 36 people arrested. Most of those arrested for cultivating marijuana on federal lands are Mexican nationals, Scott said.

    Walters said public perception that marijuana is harmless is out of date. Marijuana addiction is a major problem for young people today.

    "For those of the baby boomer generation who started this stupidity, I want you to know this is not the marijuana of the 1980s," he said. The marijuana being eradicated in national parks "is not something raised by some retired hippie."


    Marijuana Sweep Nets Big Payoff
    Visalia Times-Delta, The (CA)

    Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies say they have seized more than 340,000 marijuana plants with an estimated street value of $1.4 billion and arrested 36 suspects in a sweeping crackdown on marijuana cultivation on public land in eastern Tulare County over the last week.

    The joint operation involving 14 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, which started July 27 and will continue through Aug. 9, brought President Bush's drug czar, John Walters, to a press conference at the National Guard Armory in Visalia yesterday, where officials announced the program.

    Called Operation LOCCUST, for Locating Organized Cannabis Cultivators Using Saturation Tactics, the foot- and air-based raids focused on 83 locations where marijuana was being grown on federal and state land in eastern Tulare County.

    Some of the land was in the Sequoia National Forest and in Kings Canyon and Sequoia national parks.

    "I want to congratulate those here who've made these arrests possible," Walters, director of the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy, said to an audience of about 70 law enforcement, state and local officials.

    Walters spent Tuesday morning in a Blackhawk helicopter touring several marijuana growing locations. The tour stopped by Osa Creek in the Sequoia National Forest, where officials said they destroyed up to 12,000 plants Monday evening.

    Among those accompanying Walters was Tulare County Supervisor Allen Ishida, who has pushed for federal and state aid for drug policing on public lands.

    Up to 80 percent of the marijuana grown in the United States is grown on public lands, much of it controlled by Mexican cartels, Walters said. The raids, he said, were meant as a message to those drug traffickers:

    "Get out," he said. "You're not going to turn our communities and our national treasures into poison."

    Multi-Agency Operation

    The joint operation involves a range of federal, state and local agencies, including the U.S. Attorney's Office, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, the California Highway Patrol and the Tulare County Sheriff's Department.

    The agencies began planning last November and started surveillance flights by the California Air National Guard in January, Tulare County Sheriff Bill Wittman said.

    The operation is a pilot program that began last year in Shasta County, one of the dozen of inland California counties where large-scale marijuana cultivation on public lands is a growing problem, said U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott.

    Officials said they were especially concerned about how the presence of marijuana growing areas affects public and law enforcement safety, as well as their environmental effect because poaching, clear-cutting and toxic chemicals are often involved.

    Last year, Tulare County spent $350,000 and was forced to assign much of its gang task force to public lands drug policing during the summer, county officials said.

    The joint operation, however, helped the county quickly equal its 2007 record-setting marijuana busts and dismantle some of the infrastructure -- irrigation hoses, stream diversions, and tents and cabins -- that growers erect, officials said.

    "We've never had the resources available to do that," Wittman said, adding that the total cost of the program will be shared among the participating agencies and has yet to be determined.

  5. above by "you know who" - chuckle ...

  6. Gotta love that! And the spelling was impeccable!

  7. Of course the Feds that came here and are probably still here aren't looking in the National forests for plants. Remembering back, it seems to me that all of the very large grows have been on forest land which is not the Humboldt local growers. These grows create problems because of trash and everything else from camping out in the forest to guard the grow. Usually no one is ever found at the grow. I guess they hear the helicopter and get the heck out somehow without being found.

  8. Kym, what makes you think a certain tail number on a helicopter is DEA?

  9. Rose , i know you smell but , at least learn how to spell .

  10. U r right,Hey,
    I truly appreciate the post.



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