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Pot plants removed from forest lands

September 20, 2012

Local law enforcement recently eradicated thousands of marijuana plants growing on public lands west of Lone Pine. The illegal pot garden and garbage associated with the grow operation have been removed, but no arrests were made. Photo courtesy Inyo County Sheriff’s Department

Local law enforcement kept millions of dollars worth of drugs off the streets Tuesday by eradicating a large-scale marijuana cultivation operation near Lone Pine.
The Inyo Narcotic Enforcement Team, Inyo County Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol, U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management worked together to destroy approximately 4,000 marijuana plants that were discovered on Forest Service land in the Lubken Canyon area.
“The site appeared to have been abandoned by the cultivators days prior to the operation,” INET Commander Juan Martinez said.
It is believed that the operation kept approximately $10 million worth of pot off the streets.
According to a press release from INET, agents also removed “large loads of garbage and rubber hose” that were left behind by the cultivators.
Martinez said residents recreating on remote public lands in the Eastern Sierra should be cautious of illegal marijuana grow sites, that are reported almost every year. Growers are often armed and have been known to use violent means, including booby traps, to keep grow sites secret.
“As soon as you become aware that you have entered a cultivation site, immediately reduce the threat by removing yourself from the area,” Martinez said. “Walk, crawl or run out the way you came in and make as little noise as possible. The growers may not know that you found their operation, or they might not be present. As soon as possible, contact your local law enforcement.”
The following are clues that a marijuana cultivation site is nearby:
• The smell of marijuana is like a skunk, especially on hot days
•Hoses or drip lines located in unexpected places
• A well-used trail where their shouldn’t be one
• Voices coming from unusual places
• People standing along roads without vehicles present, or in areas where loitering appears unusual
• Usually plantations are found in isolated locations, in rough steep terrains
• Camps containing cooking and sleeping areas with food
• Small propane cooking and sleeping areas with food
• Small propane bottles (so the grower can avoid detection of wood smoke)
• Fertilizer, weapons, garbage, dead animals
• Individuals armed with rifles out of hunting season

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