Stanislaus National Forest, CA — On Friday, July 20th, the Tuolumne Narcotics Team based out of the Sheriff´s Department joined forces with members of the state supported C.A.M.P. Team, or Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, to eradicate four marijuana grows in the Stanislaus National Forest. The four grows were identified as Five Mile Creek, Clark´s Gulch, Rose Creek One and Rose Creek Two.
Piloting the Eagle 5 Jet Ranger helicopter was 25 year old Justin Jones. He´s employed by P.J. Helicopters of Red Bluff, a firm that contracts with the state for marijuana eradication. Once Jones had dropped off the two man teams, he remained in constant contact with those on the ground. In addition to flying out the 15,145 eradicated plants, Jones also supplied the teams with a constant supply of water during the 95 degree day.
Jones also helped the teams by keeping an eye out for any unfriendlies in the area. At one point Jones thought he saw an individual dressed in a blue shirt near the grows but fortunately there proved to be no unfriendlies in the immediate area that Friday.
T.N.T. members have learned that those who tend the grows quickly establish escape routes in the event of approaching law enforcement personnel. No doubt the sound of a helicopter would send grow tenders running. T.N.T. Case Agent Jarrod Pippin did state that several arrests have been made this year of Mexican nationals who were working the gardens.
Jones added that the toughest challenge of working such a detail is not dropping team members, who are harnessed to a 100 foot long line, into trees.
In our fourth segment Thursday the question will be answered; how do marijuana eradication teams measure their success in the continuing battle against Mexican drug traffickers?
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Written by Bill Johnson