Operation Full Court Press, a multi-agency push to rid the Mendocino National Forest of illicit marijuana gardens in six counties that share it, concluded after three-weeks, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and state Department of Justice announced Monday. The multi-agency marijuana operation in Colusa, Glenn, Lake, Mendocino, Tehama, and Trinity counties targeted large-scale, illegal marijuana grows in and around the Mendocino National Forest, and consisted of more than 300 personnel from 25 local, state, and federal agencies. During the operation’s second phase, authorities seized 632,058 marijuana plants, 1,986 pounds of processed marijuana, $28,031 U.S. Currency, 38 weapons, 20 vehicles, and the arrest of 132 people, according to a statement from the MCSO.
Of those arrested, 118 people were booked on various federal and state charges to include marijuana, firearm, and immigration violations; 14 were foreign nationals detained on administrative immigration violations. They will be processed for removal from the United States, according to the MCSO. Additionally, more than 51,404 pounds of trash, 40 miles of irrigation line, 5,459 pounds of fertilizer, and 149 pounds of pesticides were removed from grow sites. Nearly a third of the illegal grow sites eradicated as part of this operation was on public lands managed by the Department of the Interior. A dozen officers from the Bureau of Land Management and Fish and Wildlife Service were involved daily, according to the MCSO.
“Growers don’t recognize boundaries,” said BLM Special Agent in Charge Laurel Pistel. “I’ve spent 18 years with the BLM in Northern California, and I’ve seen the marijuana industry evolve from small, personal use gardens to large-scale complexes with armed guards on public lands. We were proud to be a partner in this large-scale effort. It’s a win for the environment and the public.” It is believed many of these grow sites are controlled by drug trafficking organizations, the MCSO stated, and as a result, law enforcement from a variety of agencies dedicated resources to the investigation, eradication, and reclamation to control this illegal activity. Reclamation efforts will continue as law enforcement strives to remove these materials, which will help restore the land to its natural state and eliminate the infrastructure, according to the MCSO, which is “imperative to deter drug trafficking organizations from re-establishing their operations.”
You must be logged in to post a comment.