According to a recent news article from the Contra Costa Times, authorities in Northern California have just finished with a four-day operation to eradicate as much marijuana as they could in the state’s Emerald Triangle. The marijuana eradication operation was conducted by a joint taskforce involving law enforcement personnel from three counties. In total, they found and destroyed over 86,500 marijuana plants from the target area.
In addition to finding the plants, law enforcement personnel also found large amounts of U.S. currency, various firearms, and thousands of pounds of dried marijuana. The taskforce consisted of around 40 people, most of whom were law enforcement officers and deputy sheriffs from the three adjacent counties in the area, as well as United States Fish and Wildlife law enforcement officers and members of the California National Guard. This was the second largest operation of this type in the history of the area, second only to an operation in 2011 that found more than 630,000 marijuana plants and was known as Operation Full Court Press.
This particular series of grow operations allegedly covered many parcels of land ranging in size from around 40 acres to around 160 acres. As our Los Angeles medical marijuana collective attorneys understand, one of the main reasons law enforcement agencies go after these forest-based illegal grow operations with such rigor is because of the amount of water it takes to grow this amount of marijuana. This is especially important in a state like California, where there is a constant problem of water shortages.
It was apparently hard to keep this type of operation a secret once authorities entered the forest growing area, and radio reports of their raid are believed to have alerted those growing the marijuana, and many were able to escape prior to being arrested. While it is unknown the total number of people who participated in the various illegal grow operations, there were only four suspects apprehend by police. However, investigators claim they will be able to identify other suspects and will arrest more people allegedly responsible for growing marijuana in the area.
Authorities estimate it took about 500,000 gallons of water a day to grow this vast number of marijuana plants, and this was wreaking havoc on the environment. Fish and Wildlife officers found streams and creeks which had been damned up and rerouted to cause water to flow to the marijuana plants, which each need a bare minimum of six gallons of water every day to grow. In total, they found nearly 100 environmental violations, with more than half of them related to altering the streambeds. Authorities also found large tanks used to store water from the diverted streams to water the marijuana plants. They also reported finding additional damage to the environment caused by an overgrowth of algae due to runoff from fertilizer used on the marijuana plants. This was additional to what authorities said were large tracts of lands bulldozed and graded to make a more suitable grow operation. In total, authorities referred this as broad-spectrum environmental damage.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 949-375-4734.
Northern California pot raids uncover 86,500 marijuana plants, June 26, 2015, Contra Costa Times
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Four Competing California Marijuana Legalization Proposals, April 3, 2015, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog