|Monday, Jul 26, 2010|
On June 22nd, rangers and NPS special agents joined a multi-agency task force for three weeks of marijuana raids and investigations in Shasta County. These operations were conducted on Forest Service, NPS and private lands that had access through or included federal property. Over the three-week period, they eradicated 176,974 marijuana plants worth $707,896,000, made multiple arrests, and recovered many firearms and much ammunition. The three-week operation included two days of raids in Whiskeytown. In the first day of the Whiskeytown raids, rangers found two freshly abandoned sites and raided one additional site, eradicating a total of 4,718 plants. On the next day of raids, they eradicated 15,508 plants. The Whiskeytown plants alone represented seizure of $80,904,000 worth of marijuana. Also removed were hazardous materials, including fertilizer. Future cleanup missions will remove camping equipments, hoses, tools and discarded food along with other garbage. Evidence from the investigations suggest that the growers were from Mexican drug trafficking organizations. Most of these missions were conducted by helicopter short-haul, which has been shown to improve safety by improving officers’ tactical advantage and greatly reducing sprains, heat injuries, poison oak exposure and other injuries that are common in this very challenging environment. Pacific West Region’s SET Team 3, comprised of six US Park Police officers, participated fully in the Whiskeytown raids and in the ensuing investigations. The in-park raids and investigations were led by a resident NPS special agent and supported by the NPS Investigative Services Branch. Shasta County led the nation in marijuana eradication last year. Additional marijuana planting activity is under investigation at Whiskeytown.