DEA cracking down on marijuana growing operations - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

DEA cracking down on marijuana growing operations

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CNS) - A multi-agency squad that targets drug traffickers in the San Diego area seized a record amount of marijuana plants being grown locally over the first 10 months of this year, authorities announced today.

The San Diego County Narcotics Task Force discovered 227 illicit cannabis cultivation operations and confiscated a total of 492,221 pot plants between January and the beginning of this month, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Seventy-three of the illegal grow sites were on public lands, including federal forest property, DEA spokeswoman Amy Roderick said. Those plots posed serious environmental hazards in the form of pollution from traffickers' garbage, raw sewage and unrestrained use of pesticides, she said.

Of the cannabis-growing operations on private land, 87 were outdoors and 67 indoors.

Over the period, the task force made 103 arrests, seized 85 weapons and impounded $3.5 million in suspects' assets, including cash, vehicles and homes, officials reported during a briefing at the DEA's San Diego headquarters in Kearny Mesa.

The federal agency staffs the anti-narcotics team along with personnel from various other national, state and local law enforcement entities, including the county Sheriff's Department and San Diego Police Department.

Most of its marijuana busts result from airborne surveys of likely cultivation areas, while others stem from citizen tips, Roderick said.

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