It seems that our national parks are being used for more than camping, sightseeing and hiking. Officials in an interagency raid in Sequoia National Park seized more than 3,500 illegal marijuana plants worth about $5,250,000 in a remote wilderness area within the park.
Officials say extensive environmental damage was caused by the cultivators, including thinned or removed vegetation, reports YourCentralValley.com. Approximately 10,000 gallons of water was being diverted from the ecosystem daily and large amounts of trash, fertilizers and pesticides were found in the area.
No arrests have yet been made.
The investigation included law enforcement officers from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service, and California Department of Justice.
Park officials say for more than a decade drug-trafficking organizations have been operating large-scale cultivation operations in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
In the last 14 years, almost 300,000 plants with a value of almost $850 million have been eradicated in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.