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Contact: George Land, 760-367-5507
JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK, Twentynine Palms, California –
Park rangers operating on a tip from park visitors, apprehended and charged four subjects on a combination of charges to include defacing public property and possession of a controlled substance. On April 15 at approximately 2:30 pm, park officials received a call from two visitors who were climbing in the Oyster Bar area of the park. The visitors reported seeing and smelling fresh paint in the area and copied the license plates of the only two other vehicles in the parking lot. A protection ranger was dispatched to the area and noted that both cars were still at the site. Upon further investigation a group of nine males in their mid-twenties were located on the trail. After questioning and the location of a can of spray paint, two of the subjects admitted to the offense. A further search of their persons and vehicles also turned up additional paint cans and marijuana.
Four of the nine were issued citations to appear in US Federal Magistrate Court. Lacking necessary evidence, the other five subjects in the group were released and not cited.
Park Superintendent, David Smith lauded the actions of the reporting visitors and encourages anyone observing illegal behavior in the park to immediately alert park staff. "We rely on the eyes and ears of the people who value and treasure the park we all love and want visitors to know that their vigilance helps us maintain and protect this special place", said Smith.