Stanislaus National Forest, CA — It was Ryan Pontecorvo, a special agent for the Caifornia State Department of Justice´s Narcotic Enforcement Unit, who headed up the July 20 marijuana eradication mission.
According to Pontecorvo eradicating marijuana plants is a difficult job in itself what with summer heat, rugged terrain and poison oak. Add to that the ever present danger of “unfriendlies” who may be in the area. This year more and more weapons, including AK-47´s, 9mm hand guns and .22 calibre long rifles, are being found in grows. In Fresno County this year agents discovered booby traps consisting of shotgun shells and rat traps. On Thursday, July 19, the T.N.T. working in the Moccasin area found a .22 calibre handgun at an abandoned campsite.
As soon as a marijuana grow is planted, garden tenders plan their escape routes in case local and state agents surprise them. Pontecorvo added that it´s much easlier to capture Mexican nationals on a “walk in” mission rather than a “fly in” because the sound of a helicopter will immediately spook the illegals.
As far as the statewide eradication project is concerned, Pontecorvo stated that 600,000 plants were destroyed during the first half of this year. For a breakdown of the statewide effort to eradicate marijuana click Campaign Against Marijuana Planting.
Written by Bill Johnson