For more than 20 years, the Mexican drug cartels have been taking over large sections of this nation's once pristine National Parks to grow marijuana on this side of the border, thus placing the supply closer to the demand, and creating more profit.
In September 2019, two drug cartel members were taken into custody during a raid on a marijuana under the thick tree canopies in California's Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Local sheriff’s deputies seized 8,656 growing marijuana plants and 232 pounds of processed marijuana.
National Public Radio reported:
About 3,000 pounds of trash, including discarded clothing, propane tanks and spent cans of insecticide, in addition to three miles of plastic irrigation pipes and open bags of fertilizer were also discovered at the site, suggesting the operation had been in use for years.
‘The true crime here is the fact that they're killing off basically America's public lands, killing off the wildlife, killing off our water,’ says Kevin Mayer, a U.S. Forest Service law enforcement assistant special agent in charge. 'This is stuff that, you know, it's not gonna repair itself.’
In March 2016, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued the following press release:
Two Mexican men illegally present in the United States were each sentenced to serve federal prison terms for intentionally manufacturing and possessing with intent to manufacture 50 or more marijuana plants in the Routt National Forest in Colorado.
These sentences were announced by then- U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Forest Service, and the Routt County (Colorado) Sheriff’s Office.
The two defendants, Alfonso Rodriguez-Vazquez and Nestor Fabian Sinaloa-Sinaloa, were first charged by criminal complaint August 8, 2015. They were then indicted by a federal grand jury September 28. On November 24, Rodriguez-Vazquez was charged by Information, and then pleaded guilty to manufacturing 50 or more marijuana plants. On November 30, Sinaloa-Sinaloa was also charged by Information, and then pleaded guilty to the same crime.
On March 7, 2016, Sinaloa-Sinaloa was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Marcia S. Krieger to serve 33 months in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release.
On March 8, Rodriguez-Vazquez was sentenced by Chief Judge Krieger to serve 30 months in federal prison, to be followed by three years on supervised release. Both men appeared at their court hearings in custody, and were remanded at each hearings’ conclusion. As illegal aliens, both men face deportation after they complete their prison sentences.
Both defendants were found maintaining a three-fourths-acre illegal grow site located in the Buffalo Pass area, northeast of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The eradication team seized 926 marijuana plants and removed camping gear from the site. The Forest Service also cleaned up additional trash and other items. The marijuana-grow operation was found after a citizen reported suspicious activity to the U.S. Forest Service.
“Growing marijuana on public lands is not only a violation of the drug laws, it is a devastating form of environmental crime,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “The Forest Service and Routt County Sheriff’s Office, with the support of Homeland Security Investigation, deserve particular credit for their aggressive law enforcement work, which ensured that these two individuals were arrested and held criminally accountable.”
In 2009 press conference, Gil Kerlikowske, chief of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy stated: “Mexican drug trafficking organizations have been operating on public lands to cultivate marijuana, with serious consequences for the environment and public safety,the New York Times reported.”
Cartel operatives move into remote areas of our National Forests and set up huge marijuana grows, where they divert natural streams to irrigate their illegal crop, kill endangered wildlife, use banned pesticides and various chemical agents which leach into the soil, and leave mountains of trash behind.
In June 2003, The Christian Science Monitor reported on what was then “a developing problem,” what follows is an excerpt from that article:
'This is massive-scale agriculture that is threatening the very mission of the national parks, which is to preserve the natural environment in perpetuity and provide for safe public recreation,' says Bill Tweed, chief naturalist at Sequoia National Park. '[Growers] are killing wildlife, diverting streams, introducing non native plants, creating fire and pollution hazards, and bringing the specter of violence. For the moment, we are failing both parts of our mission, and that is tragic.'
“The most [visitors] used to worry about is running into a grizzly bear. Now there is the specter of violence by a masked alien toting an AK-47,' says David Barna, chief spokesman for the National Park Service (NPS). He and others say the problem is national, but most pronounced in California, Utah, and Arkansas, and in parks with international borders such as Big Bend in Texas and Glacier in Montana.
In August 2016, KXTV reported that Plumas National Forest, located in the Sierra Nevadas of California, which has long been a favorite place for hikers, has become “a place where hunters were walking in the fields and killed and bodies found later.” The article quoted cattle rancher Mike Grubs: “We live next to a marijuana grow.... They had pit bulls running free and they attacked two cows and bit their ears off.”
Grubs runs his cattle in Plumas and Butte Counties. He does his best to avoid the grows, but sometimes his cattle wander into the wrong area.
The Plumas National Forest is rugged, remote, and has numerous water sources. Marijuana is often grown in deep canyons under the cover of dense forest growth.
“What we encounter is a number of Mexican nationals or people not from the United States running the gardens,” said Plumas County Sheriff Detective Chris Hendrickson.
Of course, our public lands are continuously used by drug smugglers, who have even killed a Park Ranger.
On August 9, 2002, Ranger Eggle was killed by Mexican drug dealers while on duty in Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Park. Eggle was attempting to apprehend two smugglers, after being notified by Mexican authorities that the two had crossed the border and were headed into the park. One of the drug dealers opened fire on Ranger Eggle with an AK-47. He died before a medevac helicopter arrived on the scene. Mexican police officers shot and killed Eggle’s murderer. U.S. Park Ranger Eggle, 27, left behind his grieving parents and his sister (also a U.S. Park Ranger).
According to the 2011 George Wright Society Conference on Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites, the following is a short list of National Parks where large-scale marijuana grows have been discovered:
• Lake Mead National Recreation Area
• Whiskeytown National Recreation Area
• Point Reyes National Seashore Park
• Yosemite National Park
• Santa Monica National Recreation Area
• Kings Canyon National Park
• Sequoia National Park
• Golden Gate National Recreation Area
• Redwood National Park
• Dixie National Forest
• Bryce Canyon National Park
• North Cascades National Park
Of course, our federal government could eradicate these illegal and ecologically disastrous marijuana farms currently being manned by heavily armed foreign criminals. We could do so simply by utilizing the services of our National Guard.
So why don’t they?
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