US drug op uproots over 578,000 cannabis plants


LOS ANGELES–More than 578,000 cannabis plants, worth over US$1 billion, have been uprooted from forests and national parks in a major operation in the western United States, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

The two-month enforcement operation, which began July 1 in seven states — California, Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington — was led by the nation’s anti-drug and forest authorities. “Federal, state and local law enforcement in the seven states have eradicated more than 578,000 marijuana plants from public lands. The DEA estimates the value of this marijuana to be well over US$1 billion,” the Justice Department statement said. Most of the illegal plantations were discovered in California, where “at least 484,000 marijuana plants” were seized in over 96 fields. Fourteen people were arrested and charged in the Eastern District of California in connection with the illegal crops.