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2004 Campaign Against Marijuana Planting Sets New Season Record
More Than 621,000 Plants Valued at $2.5 Billion Eradicated
(LOS ANGELES) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer, along with representatives from several local, state and federal agencies, today announced the 2004 Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) program set a new season record, seizing 621,315 plants during the eradication season. The season total represents 155,000 more plants than last year's record season and has an estimated street value of nearly $2.5 billion.
Headed by the California Department of Justice (DOJ), the multi-agency program also includes the California National Guard (CNG), United States Forest Service (USFS), Bureau of Land Management, United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Central Valley High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (CVHIDTA) task force and dozens of local and county law enforcement agencies. CAMP conducted 181 raids in 30 counties during the traditional growing season, which runs from late July through early October. In addition to the record plant seizures, officers made 41 arrests and seized 53 weapons.
"Each year we will continue our aggressive efforts to exterminate these illegal operations and actively pursue any leads we have from this program to prosecute individuals and groups that have foolishly decided to use California land to further their destructive activities," Lockyer said. "The environmental impacts continue to destroy, poison and alter California land."
The addition of a fourth team was added in 2004 and CAMP agents worked four regions for months to protect public lands in California from the environmental devastation these large-scale operations create. This year, 58% of illegal marijuana seizures were located on public land, including state and national parks and forests. The other grows were located on private land, including ranches, vineyards, and property owned by corporations and a lumber company.
This season, agents also destroyed nearly 500,000 plants linked to multi-billion dollar Mexican Drug organizations. These plantation-sized grows accounted for 80% of the plants seized this season. Marijuana production and trafficking is often conducted by organizations also involved in producing and transporting methamphetamine.
In 2003, there were six fatalities and four non-lethal officer-involved shootings at marijuana grow sites. This season, there were two-officer involved shootings and no fatalities. Lockyer attributed the decrease in part to specialized risk-management training provided to CAMP agents and officers. The training included techniques to use when confronting suspects at marijuana sites.
Riverside County had the largest number of plants seized with 97,104, followed by Fresno County with 69,364 plants seized and Lake County with 64,198 plants seized.
"As the season comes to a close, the success of the CAMP program continues to be seen with the continued support of local, state and federal agencies," said CAMP Commander Val Jimenez. "CAMP will continue it's ongoing mission to rid our state of illegally cultivated marijuana that continues to plague and jeopardize the safety of our citizens."
Lockyer was joined in Los Angeles by Jimenez, DOJ Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement Chief John Gaines and representatives from the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), California National Guard (CNG), United States Forest Service (USFS), and the Riverside County Sheriff's Office.
A summary of the 2004 CAMP season is attached.