Pictured above: Thousands of marijuana plants growing in the Angeles National Forest.

 

Incident Date: July 29, 2010

Members of the Narcotics Bureau Marijuana Eradication Team (MET) and Aero Bureau, in a joint operation with members of the U.S. Forest Service, California Department of Fish and Game, California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), performed an illicit marijuana eradication operation on public lands within the Angeles National Forest on July 23, 2010. The team simultaneously entered three mountainous canyons to investigate pre-identified, illicit Marijuana grows. Detectives found a series of 41 separate plots containing differing strains of illicit marijuana under cultivation. The sites included extensive irrigation systems and campsites. No suspects were located.

The team eradicated a total of 17,493 illicit marijuana plants from public lands, which had an estimated street value of nearly $35 million dollars. They also removed 950 pounds of refuse,consisting of hazardous chemical fertilizers, pesticides, food, spraying equipment, propane tanks, and live ammunition from the forest. They repaired damage to three artificially-dammed streams and removed extensive irrigation systems which suspects used to divert water from native plants and animals to irrigate the illicit crops.

LArge marijuana grow in the forest

Hundreds of plants growing in the Angeles National Forest after the suspects had
cleared the forest floor of the natural landscape


Television reporter Kristen Welker of NBC and print reporter Thomas Watkins of the Associate Press accompanied the team into the site bordering Rincon Road where they interviewed Detective Robert Wagner and Captain Ornelas. The Rincon Road planting was extensive and abutted a popular local fishing and hiking recreation area where a number of families were currently swimming and camping. The public who visit remote nature areas should be cautious of the hazards posed by criminal marijuana farming. Suspects often use firearms and even booby traps to guard their plants from law enforcement and competing criminal elements. Additionally, many of the fertilizers and pesticides encountered in illicit farming operations are highly toxic to people and may contaminate nearby water sources. Some of these are banned in the United States.

Since May 2010, detectives have eradicated a total of 126,687 illicit marijuana plants from local public lands, with an estimated street value of over $253 million dollars.


----Previous Press Release----

 
Incident Date: Thursday, July 1, 2010

Incident Location:  Angeles National Forest: Knapp Ranch Area and Fish Canyon (Santa Clarita Sheriff's Station area)

Pictured above: An LA County Sheriff's Helicopter lifts a ton of Marijuana Plants from the

forest floor toward a large semi waiting to receive the load.


Detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Narcotics and Aero Bureaus, in a joint operation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and U.S. Forest Service, performed an illicit marijuana eradication operation on public lands within the Angeles National Forest on Thursday, July 1, 2010.


Over 19,000 Marijuana plants were located throughout the Angeles National Forest

on June 25, 2010
The team located and eradicated a total of 11,249 illicit marijuana plants from public lands, with an estimated street value of over $22 million dollars. The team also removed 1,560 pounds of trash, consisting of hazardous chemical fertilizers, pesticides, food, propane tanks, and camping equipment from the forest. They repaired damage to three streams and removed extensive irrigation systems which suspects used to divert water away from native plants and animals to irrigate the illicit crops.

Pictured above: Detectives from the Sheriff's Narcotics Bureau accompanied by US

Forestry personnel inspecting a make-shift shelter. 

 

Since May 2010, detectives have eradicated a total of 96,441 illicit marijuana plants from public lands, with an estimated street value of over $192 million dollars.

The public who visit nature areas should be cautious of the hazards posed by criminal marijuana farming. Suspects guard and even booby-trap their plants against law enforcement and competing criminal elements. Additionally, many of the fertilizers and pesticides encountered in illicit farming operations involve hazardous substances, some of which are banned in the United States.


Pictured above: Numerous bags of fertilizer and rodent poison litter the forest near

these grow operations, poisoning the landscape and the wildlife that populates the forest.


"These illegal marijuana grows do more than just harm the people who use illicit marijuana, they destroy and poison public lands," said Captain Ralph Ornelas, Sheriff’s Narcotics Bureau. He said, "The many agencies involved in these operations will continue our aggressive efforts to clear the public land of this menace, so that the forest remains available for present and future generations."

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Anyone with information about this crime is encouraged to contact their local sheriff's station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department or the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Narcotics Bureau at (562) 946-7125. If you prefer to provide information ANONYMOUSLY, you can call "Crime Stoppers" by dialing 800-222-TIPS (8477), texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.


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Update: July 23, 2010    |    Update: July 2, 2010  |  Original press release (No Pictures)