300,000 marijuana plants worth 1.8 billion dollars seized in California July 22, 2005 - politicalgateway.com LOS ANGELES, CA (AFP) Attorney General Bill Lockyer today announced the season kick-off for the 2005 Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) eradication program. "Pre-season enforcement have already resulted in the seizure of 300,000 plants, nearly half of them have been found on public lands," Lockyer said. "California's landscape is being ravaged by the chemicals and the waste associated with these illegal marijuana gardens. The illegal gardens seized by CAMP are contaminating our water, destroying our land and also presenting increased risk for innocent hikers that may inadvertently stumble across one of these gardens that are guarded by armed men." Managed by the California Department of Justice's Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, CAMP is composed of local, state and federal agencies tasked with eradicating illegal indoor and outdoor marijuana cultivation and trafficking throughout California. During the season, CAMP will partner with many agencies to remove illegal commercial grows. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, California National Guard and dozens of local police and sheriff departments from across the state participate in the program. In the 22-year history of the CAMP program, agents have eradicated over four million plants with an estimated wholesale value of more than $16 billion. In the 2004 season, CAMP seized a record 621,315 plants worth $2.5 billion. Seizures have dramatically increased the last five years due to an increased number of deployment teams; more aggressive techniques, particularly aerial transportation of officers and surveillance; and, larger garden sizes. The average 2004 raid netted 3,400 plants; in 1994, the average garden yielded 300-500 plants. "The CAMP program is the largest law enforcement task force in the United States devoted solely to assisting local law enforcement agencies with the eradication of large scale marijuana grows," said CAMP Commander Michael Johnson. "Our focus is on those large-scale drug trafficking organizations that conduct grows on public lands and in the process destroy natural resources and pose a threat to those who would recreate there." The marijuana growing season starts in mid-April with harvests ending in late September or early October. Pre-season enforcement has already resulted in the seizure of more than 293,511 plants and 46 weapons, the eradication of 113 gardens and the arrest of 13 individuals.