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emad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:17 AM
Original message
A wilderness overgrown with dope and danger


US forest rangers take on Mexican cartels scarring national park with secret marijuana plantations

Dan Glaister in Sequoia national park
Wednesday September 28, 2005
The Guardian


In the early morning light, a park ranger applies broad green and brown stripes to his face. Dressed in camouflage fatigues, with a small rucksack on his back, a large knife at his belt and an M-16 rifle on the ground next to him, he is preparing for the day's mission: a helicopter drop into a remote marijuana plantation.

This isn't Colombia or Mexico. This is the Sequoia and Kings Canyon national park, 850,000 acres (344,000 hectares) of pristine wilderness 200 miles north of Los Angeles. In recent years the park and the public lands around it have been colonised by Mexican drug cartels. Up to last week, California officials had found and destroyed 1m marijuana plants in the state this year, with a street value of $4bn (2.3bn), probably 50% of the total grown, according to the authorities. By any measure, it is big business. Last year, the total found in the state was 622,000. With a March to mid-October growing season, officials expect this year's total to more than double.

"I can't have my name or face showing up in any press," says a park ranger as he pulls a balaclava over his camouflaged face. "I have people gunning for me, and I'm going after their plants. One thousand plants is a million bucks."

The nine rangers on the team take off in two groups to be dropped on the side of a mountain. From there they will trek two-and-a-half miles downhill through dense foliage, a journey that will take them more than two hours. Awaiting them is a "garden" that has been under surveillance for six months.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1579784,00....
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:20 AM
Response to Original message
1. what an incredible waste of resources....
:grr:
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Raster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:22 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. yes, but the people who are selling the guns, ammo, helicopters, etc.
are happy. It's like having your own little dirty war right at home.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:30 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. Get outdoors much?
Edited on Wed Sep-28-05 10:31 AM by sandnsea
You stumble across these places and you can end up dead. They should work to get growers out of national parks and forest service land. Even if pot were legal, I don't think this kind of growing would stop without police enforcement. I also don't buy this Mexican cartel nonsense. The ones I know of are just every day citizens.
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:04 AM
Response to Reply #4
11. please-- I'm a field biologist who lives and works in NorCal....
Edited on Wed Sep-28-05 11:17 AM by mike_c
My field sites are in national forests in Humboldt, Trinity, and Siskiyou Counties for the most part. I've been harrassed by CAMP helicopters while collecting data in the woods (national forest). I know a number of growers, and yes, I also know that it's not cool to hang around people's gardens, and that armed live-in caretakers are often involved, especially in the larger operations. That's a fact of life up here.
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charlie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. I'm an ardent opponent of the idiotic War on Drugs
but I don't like fucktards who plant cash crops in our protected wilderness either. Drug commandos and drug profiteers alike need to stay the fuck out of there.
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:07 AM
Response to Reply #5
12. actually, I agree....
It's largely the WOD itself that creates this situation, as I'm sure you know.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:26 AM
Response to Reply #12
16. then, "please" what???
If you agree that these fucktards shouldn't be planting in national forests and parks, then what's the "oh please" all about?

You can't seriously believe they'd all disappear if marijuana were legal. It took law enforcement to stop illegal stills and it would take law enforcement to stop illegal growers.
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 12:48 PM
Response to Reply #16
19. "please" was in response to you query about whether...
...I get outside much. I get outside a lot, in one of the most active dope producing regions of the country.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:17 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. Maybe that's the problem
First you say it's a waste of resources, then you respond to me as if I'm wrong about the problem on federal land, then you agree that people shouldn't be growing on federal land, then you act like your responses made perfectly coherent sense. :crazy:
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 04:13 PM
Response to Reply #20
23. jeez, it's called "having a conversation...."
Chill.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 04:31 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. Okay then
Call me :dunce: then. And chilled. :)
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SOS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 05:01 PM
Response to Reply #16
29. They would disappear if cannabis were legalized.
The government seizure of private property is the driving force here.
Growing on Uncle Sam's land makes sense only because of the drug war. No borders to cross, no property to seize. All of this idiocy would end if the US adopted the Dutch model.
They don't have these problems in Holland.

Re stills, why would anyone risk blowing themselves up in the woods when you can walk into a store and get a bottle of good whiskey for $20? I've never heard of a still being raided.
Not after 1933 anyway.
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pitohui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 04:42 PM
Response to Reply #1
25. how so? we need more troops on the ground, not fewer
do you really think we should allow powerful foreign cartels to drive people, wildlife, and our native plants out of our parks in order to grow an agricultural product they should either grow in their own damn country or not at all?

i fully support armed defense of our national parks

would it be OK w. you if the park was being destroyed for a cattle rancher or is it only OK if it's growing an agricultural product you happen to approve of?

if the park is going to be just an agricultural ranch for private profit, it should not be a park at all, sell the damn land & take it off our taxes

some ppl happen to believe our parks are worth defending

look at what's going at organ pipe

every park is going to be at risk for this kind of activity if we don't start defending them

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phusion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:24 AM
Response to Original message
3. Where are these fields
ahem...Might have to go backpacking in that area.
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Seedersandleechers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:37 AM
Response to Reply #3
6. Doesn't make sense.
Why wouldn't it be easier to grow MJ in Mexico..
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KharmaTrain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:53 AM
Response to Reply #6
10. Federal Lands Have Long Been Growing Havens
The reason was they were so large and there was so few rangers watching what was going on. California's thousands of square miles of parks (as well as in many other states) became havens for pot growers. IIRC Sensemilla...the infamous "killer weed" originated from those California park lands.

Bringing the stuff up from Mexico is a big time operation now, and the real money isn't in smuggling drugs, but in humans. If there's a border where the "MJ" is flowing, it's from Canada. British Columbia has been evolving into its own Colombia for years.
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:11 AM
Response to Reply #6
14. two words....
The border.
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CottonBear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:44 AM
Response to Original message
7. The Mexican drug cartel story just doesn't ring true. It's Rovian.
There is plenty of land in Mexico to grow pot. Why would they come here? Someone's growing it, but I doubt it's Mexican drug cartels.
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Dez Donating Member (826 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:47 AM
Response to Original message
8. The ONLY solution
is to legalize and regulate, bottom line.
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lectrobyte Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 10:50 AM
Response to Original message
9. Sounds like Copperhead Road

Volunteered for the Army on my birthday
They draft the white trash first 'round here anyway
I done two tours of duty in Vietnam
And I came home with a brand new plan
I take the seeds from Colombia and Mexico
I plant it up the holler down Copperhead Road
Well the DEA's got a chopper in the air
I wake up screaming like I'm back over there
I learned a thing or two from ol' Charlie don't you know
You'd best stay away from Copperhead Road
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hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:07 AM
Response to Original message
13. Places where they cook meth are dangerous too.
The "Mexican drug cartel" spin is bullshit. The United States is the customer, the money launderer, the banker, and the fortress of the illegal drug industry.

The guys on the front line growing the stuff in the United States are Mexican for the same reason the people who pick your vegtables are Mexican. They are disposable labor.

People in the United States are very quick to blame foreigners for their own problems. When we look in the mirror we do not see ourselves. We are a vampire nation.
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:16 AM
Response to Original message
15. This seems a bit overstated. nt
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sweetheart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:41 AM
Response to Original message
17. come on, its local growers
Heck, a person living in los angeles could maintain a crop in the
wilds somewhere. If you "commute" to the plot. Marijuana books describe
how to select a site and how to plant your crop that it will remain
undetected. ONe of the cool ways being innovated is hanging the plants
in baskets in trees, that they are not noticed by ground focused
patrols. With modern breeds and varieties professionals grow indoors
with huge lights, or outside the USA where the government is not
criminally insane like BC or holland. Local wild grows are by people
who don't have the wealth to do indoor growing. So, as usual, the
drugs war targets the poor. Street value my ass. Until a crop is
harvested and cured, it is worth nothing.

Heck, i'd wager half of fresno's got potplants growing in the sierra
nevada foothills... so what's new... this rovian mexican "blame the
foreigner, its those nips, or the dirty hun... come on... :eyes:
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:43 AM
Response to Reply #17
18. Yeah, no shit. But that won't freak anybody out.
I'm suprised the growers aren't "funding the terrorists" yet.
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pitohui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 04:46 PM
Response to Reply #17
26. i don't care who the hell it is
if someone is transforming my national park into an agricultural zone, displacing the wildlife and native plants, that person or corporation or cartel needs to go to prison

if we don't start seeing some enforcement, we'll have no wilderness at all

anyway, like i said in my other post, ask the ppl at organ pipe if it's bullshit that foreign drug interests are involved in some of this
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sweetheart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 07:08 PM
Response to Reply #26
28. then stop the drugs war
and all the illegal plantations on public land where small time
cash croppers are trying to make a living with an allotment, that
those persons are either licensed or not in the trade.

City folks growing food on a little patch of land in the country has
been a long standing thing in many cultures, the "allottment", a place
for trysts and rendevoux... :-)

And your jump to criminalization, and the wrathful patriarchy you just
exhibited in your post, really needs a reflection. Sometimes, bouncing
around in a white man's world of hate, we adopt their methods of thinking
as that is the very way they want their virus to spread, in the airwaves,
vindictive, righteous, torquemada of your own private inquisition to
save peaceful nature.

Then end the drugs war and put the energy in a positive way instead of
hating some poor person for trying to make a living. Bottom line, the
marijuana crop thing is a bunch of poor share croppers trying to make
ends meet by planting a cash crop, and you've got a hate complex for
the poor persons themselves, rather than the system that cultivated them.
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:24 PM
Response to Original message
21. Just one more reason to legalize dope and all drugs
Gotta wonder when our so called leaders are going to wake up and smell the stupidity.
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SiouxJ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 05:01 PM
Response to Reply #21
27. I agree. These people are scary. They are in and around
Edited on Wed Sep-28-05 05:03 PM by SiouxJ
the area I live in in north central AZ. So far they have found two massive operations here. It was in our local paper last night that they found another crop in a remote area of the forest. The scary thing is, they are armed and highly organized. The forestry service has been warning hikers and hunters to be careful as these people won't hesitate to kill in order to keep their crops a secret. So far it has been hikers that have stumbled upon these operations.

The other bad thing is, they totally trash the forest where they grow it. They clear cut and dump pesticides, weed killer and fertilizer in the nearby streams. Forestry officials have described the sites as a complete mess.

The smugglers have discovered that it is easier and cheaper to just grow it right here. They pay groups of people to run their operations and these people are walking around with automatic weapons with orders to do whatever is necessary to protect the crop.

Now you can't even go hiking and feel safe around here. They should just legalize it and end this crap for once and for all.

on edit: I couldn't find the article from my local paper on line, but I found this one from Tucson: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0923potfarm23-ON...
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lillilbigone Donating Member (317 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 01:30 PM
Response to Original message
22. WTF? LOL
Although most of the drug consumed in the US comes from Mexico and Canada


Maybe back in the Seventies that was true...not since then, though...

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