AZ one of 7 western states in crackdown
U.S. Attorneys in seven western states have announced details of Operation Mountain Sweep, an eight-week multi-agency and multistate marijuana eradication operation targeting large-scale marijuana growing operations on public lands.
The states where "Operation Mountain Sweep" is being conducted are Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.
From July 1 through mid-August, federal, state, and local law enforcement had seized 587,000 marijuana plants growing on public lands, with an estimated value of "well over a billion dollars," according to a news release from the Department of Justice.
More than a dozen defendants have already been indicted in California alone as part of the case.
According to the DOJ, marijuana growing operations harm the public lands where they take place: "Marijuana growers remove natural vegetation to make room the marijuana, they cut down trees to allow sunlight into the site, and they divert streams from their natural path to irrigate the land. They introduce chemicals and poisons to fertilize the crops and use rodenticides and insecticides indiscriminately, killing wildlife and native plants and polluting watersheds. Trash and equipment litter abandoned sites for years."