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87,000 acres of national forest torched by villians we helped create.



August 18, 2009 – Comments (5)



By Steve Gorman Steve Gorman – Mon Aug 17, 9:12 pm ET

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Wildfire investigators in California are looking for marijuana growers tied to a Mexican drug cartel whom they suspect ignited a blaze that has charred more than 87,000 acres of a national forest.

The La Brea Fire, which erupted August 8 in the Los Padres National Forest in the remote Santa Barbara County mountains northwest of Los Angeles, is believed to be the first major wildfire in the state caused by drug traffickers, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Jim Turner said on Monday.

A joint statement issued Saturday night by the Santa Barbara County sheriff's office and the Forest Service said the blaze was sparked by a "cooking fire in a marijuana drug trafficking operation ... believed to be run by a Mexican national drug organization."

"Although the La Brea Fire started more than one week ago, there is evidence that the unburned marijuana garden area has been occupied within the last several days," the statement said.

Sheriff's spokesman Drew Sugars said investigators found tens of thousands of marijuana plants growing in the area. No arrests have been made, he said.

Authorities said firefighters were warned the growers were likely still in the area and trying to escape on foot.

"The suspects are still at large," Turner said. "We've closed the area to the public ... so if anyone is likely to encounter them, it would be the firefighters, and of course those people have all been alerted and are on the watch."

Illegal cultivation of marijuana in California's forest lands has been a significant problem for several years, prompting federal and local agencies to step up eradication efforts, Turner said.

He added that some but not necessarily all the marijuana gardens had been connected to the Mexican cartels.

The fire, which is about 75 percent contained, was the largest of several wildfires burning in the state in recent days, including one near the northern surfing town of Santa Cruz, which forced the evacuation of more than 2,000 people.

(Editing by Paul Simao)


5 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On August 18, 2009 at 3:30 PM, catoismymotor (< 20) wrote:

87,000 acres burned, 2,000 residents displaced that might lose their homes, all because our government wants to control what you put into your body. This prohibition is a deadly joke.

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#2) On August 18, 2009 at 3:35 PM, devoish (83.42) wrote:

I thought this was going to be about bankers financing the destruction of forests to become housing tracts no-one could buy.

Then I thought it was going to be about the burning of rainforests to replace farmland we had paved.

I guess we all have issues.

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#3) On August 18, 2009 at 3:49 PM, crashdamage1957 (< 20) wrote:

Every time I read about law enforcement efforts aimed at marijuana or prositution, I think what a senseless misuse of taxpayer funded resources. legalize both and then go do somthing usefull, like  track down some rapists  and killers and muggers.

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#4) On August 18, 2009 at 4:32 PM, leohaas (29.46) wrote:

Unbelievable. I actually agree with one of cato's posts! Rec.

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#5) On August 19, 2009 at 11:25 PM, catoismymotor (< 20) wrote:


No. Way. There must be a full moon! Just kidding. I am glad you liked the article. 


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