|Marijuana plants pulled up and stacked|
What would I know about pot farms in the mountains? Well, I work in the mountains all year long, chasing fires, doing project work, hunting, fishing, hiking, you name it. One of the benefits of working for a federal agency (USFS) is the fact that our federal agencies are very safety oriented. So, I receive a lot of safety training on this topic. I have also discovered these "grow sites" and have been involved with the removal of the plants and materials from these growers. One thing we have been told many times over the years at work is that this is the time (spring) to keep your eyes open as individuals associated with these grows tour our mountains looking for the perfect grow site. That's why I want to share this with you today. As we can get in the hills early this year it is very likely someone may run onto these guys looking for their sites. So what are you looking for? Well, I hate to sound like I'm "profiling" here, but they are going to be Hispanic, as these men are associated with the Mexican Mafia, and Mexican drug cartels. At first it may just be a couple of them cruising the hills, or hiking around. After a while they will return with trucks full of supplies. One of the best indicators is trucks loaded with black plastic pipe, as you would see in a lawn sprinkler system, or garden drip system.
|A load in a net, awaiting the helicopter|
|Utah National Guard hauling it out|
In short, be careful when you are out and about. A few years ago a grow site was taken out in one of my favorite, far off the beaten path hunting areas. I'm lucky that I had been to busy to make the long hike that year. They would have seen me coming from below for a good mile, and I would have walked right into that very aspen stand where they were growing. I get very nervous about hitting the back country by myself now. It's a shame that this has to be a worry for us as we enjoy our public lands, and our favorite activities in the outdoors. It is a real danger, and you need to be educated, and have a plan in case you run into this situation.
|Second site of the day (nearly 16,000 plants) being loaded into dump trucks|