California Rep. Devin Nunes on Wednesday introduced legislation designed to combat drug production and trafficking on the nation’s public lands.
Nunes’ legislation requires the Office of the National Drug Control Policy to develop a strategy to combat drug trafficking on public lands.
The bill also increases the penalties for those caught cultivating or manufacturing drugs on public lands.
Drug traffickers, primarily Mexican and Asian organizations involved in cannabis cultivation and marijuana distribution, are increasingly using public lands to operate large-scale operations, according to a press release issued Wednesday by Nunes’ spokesperson, Andrew House.
Eighty-three percent of all cannabis plants eradicated from U.S. forests between 2004 and 2008 were removed from national forests in California, the press release says.
I have witnessed the problem of drug cultivation on public lands first hand, Nunes said. In one two-week period during 2008, local, state and federal law enforcement took 500,000 plants, 30,000 pounds of trash and miles or irrigation tubing out of illegal growing sites located in my community of Tulare County.
Drug traffickers are becoming increasingly aggressive toward law enforcement officials and members of the public, the release says.
In one incident, an 8-year-old boy and his father were shot when they accidentally stumbled into a hidden marijuana grove in El Dorado County, the release says.
I find this situation utterly unacceptable, Nunes said. We cannot meaningfully address drug trafficking on public lands without a comprehensive strategy.
This illicit activity poses a significant threat to our nation and those Americans who choose to camp, hike, hunt, ride, or otherwise use our nation’s public lands.
Nunes’ legislation is supported by the Peace Officers Research Association, Stewards of the Sequoias and the Society of American Foresters.
July 01, 2010