Two Marijuana Plantations Found in the Santa Monica Mountains
Just like in a recent episode of Weeds, deep within public lands are some major areas prime for cultivating marijuana. Yesterday, local and federal officials eradicated two sites, one in a state park and another on National Park land. Likely to be worth close to $10 million on the street, 2,088 marijuana plants were found in Malibu Creek State Park and another 1421 in Zuma Canyon.
Both operations used PVC piping, camping equipment, fertilizer, and chemicals in remote areas mostly used by bobcats and mountain lions as wildlife corridors. The plantations decrease the already small range the lions live within and disrupts the natural habitat with soil disturbance, natural vegetation removal and the introduction of potentially harmful chemicals into the local ecosystem. Make-shift campfires at the sites also could have ignited wildfires. $10,000-$12,000 will be used to clean up each of these sites, but the monies have to be diverted from public programs and scientific research, according to the National Park Service who oversees the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
"Our parks shouldn't have to spend their limited resources fighting drug cartels when those resources could instead be used to educate and inspire our children - the future stewards of our national parks,” said the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association in a statement.
A 2007 bust seized around 3,900 plants on a 1.5 acre plot within Trancas Canyon. In 2005, officials found the largest marijuana operation in the mountains to date. 28,000 plants were seized at Malibu Creek State Park.