Sacramento, CA — State officials say more than 1.1 million marijuana plants were seized in raids on illicit gardens during this year´s growing season.
Attorney General Bill Lockyer says that´s nearly double the number of plants seized last year. He says it reflects a trend of much larger gardens, most of which are found on public lands.
More than 27,500 plants were seized in Tuolumne County and in Calaveras County more than 8,000 plants were destroyed.
This year´s haul was a record for the state´s Campaign Against Marijuana Planting program, also known as CAMP. The program involves several state and federal agencies and assists 31 counties with surveillance and erradication.
Lockyer says most of the large pot plantations are financed and run by Mexican drug trafficking rings. Three-quarters of the gardens were found on public land, where the growers often take control of water resources and pollute the area with herbicides.
Lockyer says the illicit operations also pose a risk to campers and hikers who encounter the gardens. Shasta County reported the most marijuana seized, with more than 214,000 plants. The county also reported the largest number of arrests, accounting for 31 of the state´s 42 arrests.