7/29/2010, "Agents seize $1.7B worth of marijuana in sweep of California's Sierra Nevada; 97 arrests," AP via Fox News
"Nearly 100 people have been arrested in an ongoing sweep of
marijuana-growing operations that has netted more than $1.7 billion
worth of pot in California's Sierra Nevada range, federal and state
agents said Thursday.
Fresno County Sheriff Margaret
Mims said several Mexican drug cartels were involved in the grow
operations and that most of the 97 people arrested are Mexican
nationals. Agents were combing tracts of public land in the remote
stretches of Fresno, Madera and Tulare counties.
devastation has been done and continues to be done by these
industrial-sized grows," said Gil Kerlikowske, who directs the White
House's Office of National Drug Control Policy and was in Fresno on
Thursday to support the raid. "I think when people see what these
marijuana grows do to their land, it makes a huge difference."
About 450 agents have destroyed more than 432,000 marijuana plants
during the three-week sweep, which ends Friday, Kerlikowske said. Still,
according to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration statistics, that
accounts for a small percentage of the pot typically seized in
California each year.
Eastern District of California
U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner said federal prosecutors were taking a
more aggressive enforcement tack this year and charging those arrested
in the bust with everything from criminal immigration offenses to
conspiracy to distribute marijuana to depredation to public lands.
Officials would not clarify which Mexican cartels were involved but said more arrests were pending."