State and federal authorities announced Thursday that they’ve destroyed more than 130,000 pot plants in Washington state so far this year as part of a joint eradication program.
More than 340 people also were arrested and 190 weapons seized as part of the Washington Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration reported.
The number of plants destroyed is nearing last year’s record of 135,000, the DEA said in a news release.
Much of the pot is being grown indoors by “Asian affiliated drug trafficking organizations” that have moved to Washington from Canada to avoid stricter border security, the news release states.
“Washington state is susceptible to both outdoor marijuana growers, who typically use and damage public lands to ply their illegal trade, and previously Canadian based indoor cultivators attempting to avoid cross border detection,” DEA special agent in charge Rodney Benson said. “This two-pronged assault on the state of Washington endangers our communities, environment and our young people.”
Of particular interest to the Lights & Sirens crew, which enjoys outdoors endeavors like fishing and hiking, is the DEA’s contention that pot growers are causing increasing damage to public and private lands.
According to the news release, agents believe growers have “dammed streams, clear-cut forest lands, used large quantities of insecticide and killed indigenous wildlife” while cultivating their crops.
“At one location investigators found an impaled pygmy owl, a protected species under federal law,” the release states. “In other locations, numerous animal carcasses and feathers were found near fire pits, indicating that marijuana cultivators ate the animals available in the areas where they operated.”
Click here for more information on the program.