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How Drug Cartels Ruined California’s Wildlife

The Daily Caller/Video Team

Charlie Kabelac Contributor
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The Daily Caller released a documentary Tuesday depicting the effects of the increasing number of illegal cannabis plantations in California on the environment.

Narcofornia documents two counties’ fights against drug cartels taking over their community in Northern California. In Siskiyou County, the fight has pitted Californians against Asian refugees. Meanwhile, Lassen County residents scuffle with each other on whether they should embrace legal marijuana to weed out the illegal grows. Both counties’ conflicts highlight California’s legislative and legal failures and their abandonment of rural America.



Daily Caller reporters found propane bottles, batteries, rat poison, plastic tubing, human waste, chemicals, garbage, and evidently some drugs, during a tour through the forest with John Nores, the former game warden for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.


Most of these items are directly linked to the illegal growing of cannabis that has picked up in California since its legalization. They threaten wildlife by killing and injuring animals and plants, and leave parts of nature infertile.

Hunters and fishermen, along with law enforcement, find much of the environmental-damaging garbage left behind by illegal growers. “We have an [incredibly egregious] environmental crime here,” Nores told the Daily Caller. (RELATED: Prison Time For ‘Environmental Crimes’ Has Doubled In 4 Years)

Packaging of rat poison found in forest in Northern California. (YouTube/Screenshot/Public–User: Daily Caller)

Packaging of rat poison found in a forest in Northern California. (YouTube/Screenshot/Public–User: Daily Caller)

“There’s approximately 2,000 clandestine marijuana gardens […] that are basically cartel grows on public lands,” Nores said. The plants are often grown in hoop houses or the forest on tress-passed grows.

The illegal plantations steal public water, draining counties of their needed water, while damaging the soil and polluting the groundwater permanently with fertilizers. (RELATED: Washington DC Water Crisis Will Be ’20-30 Times Worse’ Than In Flint, Professor Predicted In 2016)

California voted to legalize recreational marijuana in Nov. 2016. Many argued the market would become safer if state officials could regulate the previously underground cartels while creating economic revenue. Northern California authorities are battling illegal grow plantations, violence and ecological damage caused by cartel operations.