Major Marijuana Plantation Removed from Ross Lake National Recreation Area
Contact: Kinsey Shilling, 360 854-7240
On August 14th, law enforcement officers from nine agencies raided a marijuana plantation in Ross Lake NRA., destroying 16,742 plants with a value of nearly $48 million. The site was the first known marijuana plantation within an NPS area in Washington and the first one found in western Washington.
The site was located by the pilot of a helicopter working on a maintenance project for the park. The appearance, location, and techniques used at the site are consistent with Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTO) that have been cultivating marijuana at several National Park Service sites in California in recent years. Mexican DTOs have traditionally smuggled marijuana into the United States, but as strengthened border controls have made smuggling more difficult, cartels are moving production inside the United States. The remote character of public lands, such as national parks, can prove attractive to such operations.
“These operations are run by people without regard to the public trust,” said Kinsey Shilling, Chief Ranger, North Cascades National Park Service Complex. “Damage to the park in direct contrast to the National Park Service mission to protect this park for the enjoyment of this and future generations.”
Did You Know?
Anyone can become a North Cascades Junior Ranger! Pick up one of the four FREE activity booklets at any of the visitor or information centers. Complete the activities and earn your official junior ranger badge! Download the booklet here. More...