The office of the San Bernardino County Sheriff recently announced that they had seized more than 10,000 cannabis plants that were growing in the San Bernardino National Forest. The plants were in three large plots that appear to have been cultivated by members of a drug trafficking gang.
There was evidence that people were living around the cannabis plots in order to tend to those plants. Camping gear and trash was found where the plants were found by a combined force from the U.S. Forestry Service, the County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Fish and Wildlife. These law enforcement agencies were collaborating under a program called CAMP (Campaign Against Marijuana Planting).
The marijuana plants were in plots located in Marble Canyon, East Fork Canyon and Arctic Canyon.
Police said that the drug traffickers cleared the forest in order to plant the marijuana. Such actions cause irreparable damage to the forest cover. The toxic pesticides and the fertilizers which are used in such activities also seep into the ground and pollute the water as well as the wildlife there.
The press release didn’t reveal who the suspects in this seizure were, but the public was urged to report any other marijuana plots they see as they hike through the forest or any other secluded areas. Callers could provide tips anonymously or reveal their identities if they so wished. Different contact numbers were also provided in the press release for those willing to provide information regarding the illegal growing of cannabis in the forest or anywhere else.
The investigators asked hikers to be cautious since there is a risk of being harmed by criminal organizations that participate in such illegal growing of cannabis. It was therefore better to stick to the marked hiking trails or to take precautions, such as moving in groups, when branching off the marked trails during a hike.
People who grow marijuana illegally see the National Forest as an attractive location since it has several of the ideal conditions they desire. The first requirement is seclusion so that the illegal activity can remain undetected for long. Secondly, the forests have naturally fertile soils and springs which can make it easier to grow the cannabis.
Those conditions will keep attracting more drug trafficking organizations to the forest, so the latest seizures are unlikely to be the last. Perhaps the authorities need to find ways to make legitimate cannabis businesses like Cannabis Strategic Ventures, Inc. (OTC: NUGS) and Canopy Rivers Inc. (TSX.V: RIV) offer their products at such a low price that the risk of growing cannabis illegally will no longer be worth the possible gains from such an illegal activity.
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