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AC360° Covers Public Land Grow-Ops

June 15th, 2009 by Rick

AC360º

AC360° Correspondent, Randi Kaye ran a report on the apparent growing trend of growing marijuana in national parks and public land. No, it’s not being done by a roving group of dead-heads or Phish fans hiding out in the bushes. The people that are doing it, now cultivate 80% of outdoor marijuana growth in these places.

Supposedly, the squatters of our wonderful national parks who are tending pot farms, may be illegal immigrants that were brought over the border by the Mexican drug cartels. Many are forced to work as farmers; taking care of the seeds, fertilizer and anything else needed to continue the green garden.

It seems it’s a win/win for the cartels. They already know all the drug-smuggling routes and possibly have bribes in the wind that help them gain access to the United States so it makes sense that they would bring over illegal immigrants to “work” in America. If the illegals become captured, they scratch that cultivation, find more illegals and then start over in another area — all of the locations of a certain cartel will not be raided, so something will make it to the black market, thus bringing back money to the cartel.

The adventure for Kaye and deputies from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department begin with a ride in a helicopter to Los Padres National Forest in California, just two hours from Los Angeles. The pilot slowly hovers over roughly 7,000 marijuana plants — Kaye says the aroma was overwhelming with an estimated $3.5m worth. She watched as the officers uprooted the plants, destroying the crop. As the deputies watched over, armed and ready for action, Kaye herself pulled up a plant with ease. Stalks were broken in two to ensure unrecoverable damage.

After informing Kaye and her team that sometimes the growers stayed nearby, armed with AK-47s, hiding in homemade underground bunkers, the deputies and team pushed a bit deeper into the forest and found the “hooch” (or camp) that the growers use from Spring to Fall, the optimal time for a harvest. The deputies went through it looking for any drugs or weapons and then destroyed it.

Time to go home, and with no growers being found, the team hiked back through the forest to a ridge and caught another chopper ride, all knowing deep inside that the physical and monetary damage that was done today will be recovered later down the road by the cartel.


Watch Randi Kaye’s full report tonight on AC360° @ 10pm ET or more than likely tune into tFS for a video of that broadcast.

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