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Contact: Lauren Newman, (805)370-2343
(Thousand Oaks, CA) Nearly 4000 marijuana plants were removed from National Park Service land off of Kanan Dume Road north of Malibu last Friday, September 2. Park Rangers and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies gathered and flew out two tons of trash and mature plants.
"This cultivation site had all the characteristics of a Mexican drug trafficking organization," said Evan Jones, Chief Ranger for Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. "Heavy use of chemicals, aggressive clearing of native vegetation and a very labor intensive grow site are all indicators typically seen of such an operation."
The growers had placed irrigation hose in a nearby creek to water the plants, installed traps for catching rodents, used copious amounts of chemical fertilizers, and relied on open flame propane grills for cooking.
This is the second marijuana cultivation site found at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area this summer. The other was found in Zuma Canyon.
The National Park Service, California State Parks, and Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority actively look for marijuana cultivation sites throughout the Santa Monica Mountains due to the natural resource damage they produce and the threat to public safety they pose.
"The mission of the National Park Service is to protect and preserve these public lands in their natural state, and to provide for visitor safety and enjoyment," said park superintendent Woody Smeck. "These operations pollute watersheds, destroy native vegetation and pose substantial fire and public safety risks."
This was the second documented time that this particular site has been used for marijuana cultivation. The first was in 2005. Evidence at the site suggests that in addition to marijuana cultivation, the growers were also harvesting seeds in preparation for next year's growing season.