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Pot in the Park

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avatar Pot in the Park
May 12, 2009 05:49PM
Marijuana Farms Take Root In National Parks
by Martin Kaste
full story: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=103866520
Audio: http://www.npr.org/templates/player/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=103866520&m=104065578

All Things Considered,
May 12, 2009 ·
It's common knowledge that marijuana is one of America's biggest cash crops. In 2008, law enforcement confiscated more than 5 million plants in California alone.
What's less known is that much of that pot is grown on public lands. And, increasingly, the covert pot farms are moving into pristine lands — even parks.
Marijuana cultivation has been found in more than a half-dozen national parks on the West Coast; the latest to join the list is North Cascades National Park in northern Washington state, where a farm was raided last summer.
In Yosemite, one of the crown jewels of the national park system, park rangers are constantly searching for new pot farms. Just a few miles from El Capitan and other popular tourist spots, Special Agent Steve Yu and Park Ranger Chris Kuvlesky are sneaking through the ponderosa pine. They're on what they call a "creep": a stealthy hike through an area that's been used in the past by pot growers. They step carefully, because even the snapping of a dry branch could be enough to telegraph their presence to growers who might be hiding in these woods.
Pot farms tend to follow the same rough design: terraces cut into a remote hillside, with some trees and bushes left standing to provide cover from the air. An irrigation hose taps the nearest creek; at one Yosemite pot farm raided in 2007, the hose ran for nearly a mile — buried and camouflaged the whole way. Yu admits he has a grudging respect for the effort that goes into these "gardens."
"I don't know how these guys do it," he says, referring to the growers who live out in these woods all summer, carrying in hundreds of pounds of food, fertilizer and chemicals, and living under tarps. "When we get the handcuffs on them, when we get our hands on them, it feels like these guys are carved out of oak."......
A Major Drug Enterprise
Relatively few of the marijuana-tenders are caught. At the first sign of trouble, they usually slip away through the brush. That's the main reason these pot farms are on public land: It's easy to cut and run.
But law enforcement agencies are learning more about these marijuana gardens. For one thing, they're not stand-alone projects. Investigators say pot farms in parks and national forests are often part of larger networks.
A recent Drug Enforcement Administration investigation of a Mexican crime family's alleged crystal methamphetamine ring led agents to discover that the family also had a marijuana-growing operation on the side. They call it a major enterprise; a Seattle-based DEA agent (anonymous here because he works undercover) says it stretched across several Western states.
"They had a plan in place, they had stash houses, they had living places for people and they had people whose role was just to provide food. Each person had their little skill set that they applied to the job, and the leaders never got their hands dirty," the agent says.
The agent says family members — most of them Mexican citizens — drove in from around the country to help with the farms. They moved up the West Coast in a wave, following the spring planting season as it moved north.
The DEA says the family — known as the Barragans — has been known to drug enforcement for decades, both in Los Angeles and in Mexico. Some of the Barragans are now in federal custody near Seattle, awaiting federal trial. Their lawyer would not make them available for comment. (cut)



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Pot in the Park
May 12, 2009 06:45PM
A few years ago someone uncovered an illegal pot farm in Point Reyes. I heard that Yosemite and Sequoia have had their shared of pot cultivation too.

I recall seeing some sort of series (was it on the History Channel) where there was some documentary footage on pot raids in the Appalachians or the Ozarks. They were growing some pretty potent stuff. The Forest Service even had some law enforcement officers whose job concentrated on carrying out pot raids.
avatar Re: Pot in the Park
May 12, 2009 11:00PM
The pot raids in SEKI occur in Feb. when the death threat is less threatening.

Why don't they legalize that crap and get it over with? I don't smoke, and have no interest in MJ (based on observation of those who do).

Tax the living S**t out of it, and if you smell like it, you don't get the job.
avatar Re: Pot in the Park
May 13, 2009 08:49AM
Quote
Vince
The pot raids in SEKI occur in Feb. when the death threat is less threatening.

Why don't they legalize that crap and get it over with? I don't smoke, and have no interest in MJ (based on observation of those who do).

Tax the living S**t out of it, and if you smell like it, you don't get the job.

This. Our law enforcement have other things upon which to focus their resources.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/13/2009 08:50AM by dqniel.
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