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Seven Arrested during Marijuana Plantation Raids

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August 18, 2008 04:09PM
US Forest Service
San Bernardino National Forest
602 S. Tippecanoe Ave San Bernardino, CA 92408
Contact: John Miller (909) 382-2788

Seven Arrested during Marijuana Plantation Raids on the San Bernardino National Forest

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif., August 18, 2008--Federal, state and local law enforcement agents arrested a total of seven individuals and seized over 60,000 marijuana plants valued at approximately 20 million dollars on the San Bernardino National Forest last week.
Over the past week, agents from the United States Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Drug Enforcement Administration, San Bernardino & Riverside County Sheriff's Departments, and the California Department of Justice Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) took part in the operations stretching from Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear to the Santa Rosa Mountains.

Over 5,000 plants and two arrests were made on Wednesday August 13th in a canyon northwest of the Lake Arrowhead. On Thursday August 14th, law enforcement officers conducted a raid on a plantation in a drainage west of Big Bear Lake resulted in five arrests and over 15,000 marijuana plants confiscated. This is addition to the over 40,000 plants removed in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains in the past two weeks. United States Forest Service Special Agents did not disclose the names of those arrested in the operation, nor how the marijuana plantations were located.

The seven arrested are being charged under Federal Law for "Cultivation of marijuana in excess of 1000 plants" under Title 21 USC Section 841(a)(1) and "Conspiracy to cultivate" under Title 21 USC section 846. The two arrested on Wednesday had additional charges of "Carrying a firearm unlawfully during the commission of a felony" under Title 18 USC Section 924(c).

Illegal marijuana grow operations jeopardize the fragile ecosystems of the forests. For every acre of forest planted with marijuana, ten acres are damaged. The human footprint on pristine forest land at a large-scale marijuana grow site can leave behind several tons of garbage, biohazard refuse, and toxic waste. Erosion is also a problem, as small streams and other water sources are diverted for irrigating the marijuana fields and the land is compacted.

Federal, State, and local law enforcement officials have been cooperating at unprecedented levels to address this problem. California's Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) is a multi-agency law enforcement task force managed by the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement and composed of local, State and Federal agencies. CAMP agents are broken into five teams covering Northern, Central, and Southern California regions. CAMP members are assisted in their eradication efforts by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the U. S. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the California National Guard, the California Department of Fish and Game, the California State Parks, and dozens of county sheriff agencies and local police departments.

For further information about the investigations, contact Forest Service Special Agent in Charge, Ron Pugh, at (707) 562-8648.

Seven Arrested during Marijuana Plantation Raids

Rick 1878August 18, 2008 04:09PM

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