Posted on

illegal marijuana grow

Asked if Brown was considering deploying the Oregon National Guard, her spokeswoman, Elizabeth Merah, said the Oregon Military Department already has a full-time National Guard service member embedded in each of three law enforcement teams in southern Oregon.

“This is a billion-dollar industry or a multibillion-dollar industry,” he said. “Where are they?”

The increasing calls for National Guard intervention recalls the drug wars of the 1990s, when the citizen-soldiers were used, including in Missouri and California.

“The people of the Illinois Valley are experiencing an existential threat for the first time in local history,” said Christopher Hall, the conservation district’s community organizer.

Inflation up, virus down as priorities in US: AP-NORC poll

During last Wednesday’s raid in Medford, near the California border, police found a vast outdoor growing operation, plus harvested plants hanging upside down on drying racks and 3,900 pounds (1,800 kilograms) of resinous buds stashed in huge bags and in stacks of plastic storage containers.

Brown, also a Democrat, is holding off on a deployment for now but could reconsider next year, her office said.

In California, the growing operations are increasing beyond the Emerald Triangle. In July, the largest illegal marijuana bust in Los Angeles County history netted 373,000 plants that authorities say would have been worth $1 billion on the street.

Robert Durst, real estate heir convicted of murder, dies

In southern Oregon, the problem has gotten worse recently, law enforcement officials say.

The officers took 26 migrant workers into custody, interviewed them and then released them. An arrest warrant was issued for the primary suspect, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office said.

“Twenty years ago the people who planted and tended illegal pot farms were poor farmers from Mexico,” said Craig Thompson, a research wildlife ecologist with the USDA Forest Service. “Today international drug organizations bring in people from Russia and Asia and other places. They don’t have a farming background. It’s strictly mercenary.”

In California alone, these sites also skim more than a billion gallons of water away from sources intended for human consumption in places like San Francisco and Sacramento. These waters, including those that feed municipal water systems, are increasingly at risk of contamination from highly concentrated rodenticide and insecticide.

Law enforcement agencies have tapped into the Forest Service scientific community to gain insights on how to better counter illegal grow sites on national forests. Environmental DNA, or eDNA, is a highly sensitive method of detecting low concentrations of organisms or substances in low abundance from a cup of water taken from a stream or other water source. The technology can be used to detect the presence of cannabis and the upstream marijuana grow sites.

These sites have devastating impacts on both wildlife and water quality. The growers use large amounts of rodenticide to keep mice from destroying their plants. The killing effects can spread up the food chain as larger predators feed on the smaller, poisoned animals.