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Crime Lines: Raid rids national park of 3,500 pot plants

Crime Lines: Raid rids national park of 3,500 pot plants

$850 million worth of marijuana has been eradicated in Sequoia National Park since 2006

@TheSunGazette

SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK – More than $5.2 million worth of marijuana was found in a remote area of Sequoia National Park last week.

On Sept. 5, law enforcement officers from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service, and California Department of Justice raided an illegal marijuana cultivation site within the national park.

More than 3,500 marijuana plants with a street value of $5,250,000 were eradicated. The site was located in a remote area of designated wilderness. Extensive environmental damage was caused by the cultivators including thinned or removed vegetation, terraced hillsides, and approximately 10,000 gallons of water diverted from the ecosystem daily. Large amounts of trash, fertilizers, and pesticides were also found in the site.

For over a decade, well-organized drug-trafficking organizations have been operating large-scale cultivation operations in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. These cultivation sites cause major damage to the parks’ natural resources and are a serious threat to public and staff safety. In the last 14 years, almost 300,000 plants with a value of almost $850 million have been eradicated in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

This investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made at this time.

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