July 02, 2011
It’s becoming more common on public
lands all across the west coast: large scale marijuana plantations. These illicit grow operations, often funded by
Mexican drug cartels, are sophisticated operations. Irrigation, fertilizer, and equipment is hauled high up into
remote areas of the forests.
Earlier this month, bear hunters in Oregon stumbled on what turned out to be the
largest marijuana plantation that state has ever seized, by far - more than 91,000 marijuana plants growing in a
remote canyon in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. Six armed growers were arrested. Police removed or destroyed
the pot plants.
And the problem is a local one too. Chelan county seized and destroyed more than 80,000
plants just a few seasons ago.
Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest spokeswoman Robin DiMario warns people to
keep an eye out for marijuana growers, because it is always possible you will stumble onto a plantation.
/>DiMario said if you see marijuana growing out in the forest, be careful, back out the way you came, and report
it. In fact, it’s already happened this season.
But DiMario urged all hunters and hikers to be
very careful, because marijuana growers can be protective of their illicit cash crop.
Robin DiMario with the Okanogan-Wenatchee national forest. The battle against marijuana growers on public lands is
ongoing. Not only is growing the drug illegal, but it can also be quite damaging to the forests
Some years Chelan County leads the state for the amount of marijuana seized. But the
numbers have been down the last 2 years. Tofind out about the plans for cracking down on growers this season,
KOHO’s Isaac Kaplan-Woolner spoke with the man who will lead the charge.
reiterated that anyone who comes across an outdoor marijuana plantation should use caution, leave the area, and
contact law enforcement.