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Narcotics Task Force Announces Marijuana Seizures

San Diego CA— Thursday morning, the DEA San Diego Field Division’s Narcotics Task Force (NTF) along with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and Health Advocates Rejecting Marijuana, (HARM) announce the total amount of illegal marijuana plants seized in San Diego County in 2015.

During calendar year 2015, NTF and our law enforcement partners seized over 88,213 marijuana plants from 98 separate grow locations – 60 outdoor sites and 38 indoor locations. At these locations, the investigators seized trafficker assets valued at approximately $ 464,149.00. One hundred and fifteen subjects were arrested in connection with these operations. Of additional significance is the fact that 52,439 plants were removed from our public lands. That includes both U.S. Forest Service lands and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands. DEA/NTF will continue to intensify their efforts in this area and work with our National Guard, BLM, and US Forest Service partners to halt the extensive environmental damage that these grows cause and to ensure that our public lands remain safe.

This year, NTF has continued to see Butane Hash Oil Extraction Laboratories in relation to indoor marijuana grow operations. There were 34 Hash Oil Laboratories seized since January of 2015.

“DEA/NTF will continue to combat the dangerous and potentially deadly Hash Oil Extraction Labs,” says DEA San Diego Special Agent in Charge William R. Sherman. “We remain very concerned about the outdoor/ indoor cultivation of marijuana. These operations are a significant threat to public safety and DEA/NTF will continue to investigate these illegal and dangerous cultivation and manufacturing operations. All grows seized on public lands and most on private property involve theft of water and diversion of natural sources of water. During this time of drought, San Diegans should be concerned that our water is being stolen for a criminal enterprise.”

DEA/NTF officials estimate that it takes approximately 900 gallons of water to bring an outdoor marijuana plant to harvest, and 450 gallons for an indoor grown plant. Based on those numbers, the marijuana seized this year used approximately 72 million gallons of water. Gary Arant, General Manager of the Valley Center Municipal Water District, stated that the 72 million gallons of water equated to 220 Acre Feet of water, or enough water to serve 440 average family’s for a year. “Had these marijuana plants been seized from our district, at our current rates for water and pumping, 220 AF of theft would represent $420,000.00 in lost water and pumping revenue, which has to be made up by our other customers”, Arant said.

For further information about marijuana cultivation, please refer to www.dea.gov

About the DEA

The mission of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is to enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States and bring to the criminal and civil justice system of the United States, or any other competent jurisdiction, those organizations and principal members of organizations, involved in the growing, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances appearing in or destined for illicit traffic in the United States; and to recommend and support non-enforcement programs aimed at reducing the availability of illicit controlled substances on the domestic and international markets..