Kenwood Press

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News: 07/01/2017

Large illegal pot grow removed from Jack London

Game wardens with California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Marijuana Enforcement Team get ready to raid an illegal marijuana cultivation in Jack London State Historic Park on the morning of June 14. K9 unit dogs Zoe, front, and Phebe, back, assisted in apprehending one man found at the grow who was watering the crop. Photo courtesy of California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

In the pre-dawn hours of June 14, officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Marijuana Enforcement Team conducted a raid on an illegal marijuana cultivation grow deep within Jack London State Historic Park.

Nine game wardens removed 7,566 marijuana plants from a site on the western edge of the park in proximity to the Hayfields Trail.

A helicopter hauled out 800 pounds of garbage, including camp trash, water pipes, pesticides and fertilizers.

The armed wardens had spent the night before at the park to prepare for the early morning raid. They were assisted by two law enforcement canines, Phebe and Zoe, who helped apprehend a man they found watering the plants. A second man was suspected of being in the area but could not be found. The men had been camping there. A stolen revolver was found at the camp.

The man was not identified, but Fish and Wildlife officials determined he was a Mexican citizen. According to officials, a large majority of illegal public land marijuana cultivation operations are run by drug trafficking organizations.

The site was using water from a nearby stream, with the growers using tarps to act as water basins.

The grow site was actually discovered by Jack London staff a year ago, but the plants had already been harvested. The site was kept confidential and monitored to see if the growers came back the following season, which they did.

“Then we asked for help,” said Tjiska Van Wyk, executive director of Jack London. Van Wyk said the event was very dramatic and praised the officers’ professionalism and expertise. She also said she is in the process of working with California State Parks to develop a restoration plan of the site due to the environmental damage caused by the illegal grow.

The operation was aided by Jack London park rangers and other staff.

“This was a successful mission that ended up with the suspect safely being taken into custody and no one getting hurt”, said Lt. John Nores, with California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Marijuana Enforcement Team.

“When agencies work together like this a lot of good work can be done to help protect California’s environment and the public’s safety.”

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