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News.bytes Extra, issue 493

Operation Full Court Press: reclaiming public lands

Law enforcement personnel took a large step in reclaiming public lands from illegal marijuana production with Operation Full Court Press.

The operation included Mendocino National Forest lands and 300,000 acres managed by BLM’s Ukiah, Arcata and Redding field offices.

In addition to damaging land and water by the use of fertilizers and pesticides, some illegal in the United States, armed growers pose a threat to the safety of the public and agency employees, said Rich Burns, Ukiah Field Office manager.  “These are our public lands. When we can’t go out and use them, then it crosses the line,” he said.

Through Saturday, law enforcement officers in Operation Full Court Press removed 632,000 plants, many of them on BLM lands. They eradicated 93 grow sites and reclaimed 35 sites, 16 of them on BLM.

In addition, they seized 38 weapons, 20 vehicles and $25,000 in cash. Twenty-five tons of garbage has been removed, including 40 miles of drip irrigation tubing. To date, 159 arrests have been made. (text continues below)

several people, including uniformed National Guard members,  talk together in a wooded area
Heidi Dickerson, district manager for Congressman Mike Thompson, received a briefing at a grow site on Cow Mountain from Rich Burns, BLM Ukiah Field Office manager.

“This was a cooperative effort with participation from the federal, state and county levels,” Burns said. “I would like to thank all the agencies who assisted in this effort.”

Participants included: BLM law enforcement officers from the Ukiah, El Centro, Ridgecrest, Barstow, Palm Springs, Surprise and Alturas field offices and California State Office; the California National Guard, U.S. Forest Service, U. S.  Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Northern and Eastern districts of California, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; California Department of Fish and Game, California Highway Patrol, Civil Air Patrol, California Department of Justice; sheriff’s and district Attorney’s offices in Lake, Mendocino, Trinity, Colusa, Tehama and Glenn counties; and Northern California and Central Valley High Intensity Drug Traffic Areas offices.

people hike through a brushy area
Above and below: Participants in a tour of the Cow Mountain grow site hike hike along a trail cut through the brush.
more people walk among tall brush

marijuana plants among the brush
A marijuana plant in a clearing

a man in uniform speaks from a podium, as several people stand behind him
Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman adresses a press conference on Operation Full Court Press.

- David Christy, BLM Central California public affairs, 8/10/11

BLM-California News.bytes, issue 493 -- To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to: mailto:Join-Newsbytes@List.ca.blm.gov OR visit our News.bytes subscription page. 

Last updated: 08-11-2011