Mexican Cartel Uses California National Park To Grow Pot, Kills Curious Hunters

JP Carroll | National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter

A Mexican cartel converted a national forest in California into a favored marijuana garden and will kill hunters that accidentally wander into the illicit operation, according to a Thursday report by ABC 10 KXTV.

The ABC affiliate reports that a Mexican cartel has made its presence felt in the Plumas National Forest.

“What we encounter is a number of Mexican nationals or people not from the United States running the gardens,” Plumas County Sheriff Detective Chris Hendrickson says. Summer months are particularly perilous and busy for joint task forces that frequently shut down illegal marijuana ventures.

Cartels zealously guard their marijuana cultivation efforts with vicious pit bulls. Cattle rancher Mike Grubs told KXTV that a cartel with operations near his property “had pit bulls running free and they attacked two cows and bit their ears off.”

While Hendrickson noted more bloody instances: “We had instances where hunters were walking in the fields and killed and bodies found later.”

The sheriff detective explained the cartel’s tactics and that some Mexicans involved “are out here for 3 or 4 months and are promised $10,000 or $20,000 to grow.” The narcotics task force that leads operations against this sort of cartel activity at the Plumas National Forest consists of the National Guard, Forest Service Rangers, and County Deputies.

The problems caused by Mexican cartels in the area have been ongoing for years. Back in June of 2015, Forest Service Rangers along with Plumas County authorities got their hands on 7,700 marijuana plants, which according to local Sheriff Greg Hagwood, are likely linked to a Mexican cartel.

California residents will vote to legalize recreational use of the drug in their state, known as Proposition 64, in November. Former Facebook president and billionaire Sean Parker has given $2.5 million towards the effort for legalizing the narcotic.

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