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IN BRIEF | The Region | STATEWIDE

U.S. seeks to destroy pot crops in national forests

August 31, 2007|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

The Bush administration has launched a campaign to eradicate thousands of acres of illegal marijuana plants from California's national forests, the U.S. Forest Service said Thursday.

Officials said crime rings have planted about 6,000 acres of marijuana plants in federal forests and often send armed squatters to set up camp and tend the lucrative crop. In one recent three-week period, officials pulled up more than 280,000 marijuana plants, worth about $1.8 billion, largely in California's Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Sixteen people were arrested and 10 weapons were seized in the operations. The new campaign will seek and destroy marijuana plants in national forests and step up clearing of fertilizer or chemicals from plantation sites.

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