DEC 09 (SAN DIEGO) - This morning, the Drug Enforcement Administration (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 2013.
During calendar year 2013, NTF and our law enforcement partners seized over 120,084 marijuana plants from 113 separate grow locations – 58 outdoor sites and 55 indoor locations. At these locations, the investigators seized trafficker assets valued at approximately $379,217. Eighty nine subjects were arrested in connection with these operations. Of additional significance is the fact that 78,318 marijuana 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 and to halt the extensive environmental damage that these grows cause and to ensure that our public lands remain safe.
This year, NTF has seen a new trend in San Diego County related to indoor marijuana grow operations; Hash Oil Extraction Laboratories. NTF estimates that there have been Hash Oil Extraction Laboratories in approximately 75% of the indoor grow investigations seized. There were between 28 to 30 of these operations seized since January 2013, 12-15 of which resulted in an explosion/fire.
"DEA/NTF has a dedicated team, led by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, whose sole purpose is to conduct marijuana investigations in San Diego County," says DEA San Diego Special Agent in Charge William R. Sherman. "We are very concerned about the new trend of hash oil extraction labs and the increasing number of indoor marijuana grow operations. These operations are a significant threat to public safety and this NTF team will continue to investigate these illegal and dangerous cultivation and manufacturing operations, most of which have direct ties to local marijuana dispensary storefronts."
For further information about marijuana cultivation, please refer to www.dea.gov.