Illegal Crops Creep Into the Suburbs

Illegal Crops Creep Into the Suburbs
Posted by CN Staff on August 05, 2007 at 06:57:57 PT
By Kari Lydersen, Washington Post Staff Writer
Source: Washington Post
Barrington, Ill. -- This town of 10,000 in the northwest Chicago suburbs is home to upscale subdivisions, one of the wealthiest Zip codes in the country, and borders a leafy forest preserve popular with bird-watchers, hikers and runners.So, to many people, it was a shock when federal and state agents raided the preserve two weeks ago and eradicated 18 fields of about 60,000 marijuana plants, some of them 8 feet tall.
Marijuana crops on public land are old news in Appalachia and the Pacific Northwest. But drug enforcement agents and drug policy analysts say tighter security along the U.S.-Mexico border since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has led to an increase in domestic marijuana cultivation closer to urban areas such as the one at the Crabtree Nature Center."Obviously, it saves the drug organizations money when they can grow it here in the U.S., instead of smuggling it across the border," said Joanna Zoltay, spokeswoman for the Chicago field division of the Drug Enforcement Administration. "Since 9/11, the border is definitely tighter. There have always been crops grown on public land, but since 9/11, there's been a steady increase."Lloyd Easterling, acting assistant chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, said 145,438 pounds of marijuana were seized at the border during the fiscal year that ended June 30, up from 138,822 pounds in the previous year.The deployment of National Guard troops to the border in Operation Jump Start has put pressure on drug smugglers, he said."We've added additional manpower, more tactical infrastructure, more technology in the field; we have more people and more things in more places than we've ever had before, so it's definitely a lot harder" to get drugs across, he said.Zoltay said marijuana crops are discovered in suburban Chicago preserves every year, but the plant count is usually in the hundreds.In 2006, more than 4.8 million marijuana plants were found on public land, up from 3.9 million in 2005 and 2.9 million in 2004, Zoltay said, noting that plants seized from public land outnumber indoor seizures 10 to 1.Large operations in suburban areas are still rare, DEA officials said, but the pressure on the border could change that."You're not normally going to see drug-growing near urban areas where it will raise flags," said Ramona Sanchez, spokeswoman for the DEA's Phoenix field office. "But drug traffickers will do whatever they can."The marijuana found in the Crabtree preserve, which is close to several interstates, would have been worth more than $30 million on the street, the DEA estimates. Agents also found a campsite stocked with tables, canned and perishable food, cots, a tent, an irrigation system powered by a generator using pond water, and an underground bunker with logs blocking the entrance."It was pretty elaborate and sophisticated," Zoltay said. "These guys were there for the long haul."The Crabtree marijuana operation began to unravel on June 10 when an intern studying foxes for a local conservation organization saw three men pumping water from the pond in an overgrown part of the preserve. He reported it to county officials, and helicopter surveillance soon revealed the illegal activity.On July 24, law enforcement officers from more than 50 agencies -- state, local and forest preserve police, Army and Air National Guard and the DEA -- closed in to seize the crop and destroy it.They arrested two men dressed in camouflage clothing at the site and charged them with state felony counts of cultivating marijuana and criminal damage to land. The plants were cut down and burned."Everybody is pretty startled this was going on this close to Barrington," Barrington Police Chief Jeff Lawler said.At a sports bar several miles from the preserve, Chris White said he often walks in the area and recently considered bushwhacking in a spot he thinks was close to the marijuana operation."I'm glad I didn't," he said. "It's funny; I was just thinking that area would be a good place for homeless people to live or something. Little did I know."White, 45, and several friends who grew up in the area, said they were not surprised by the news.One man who would not give his name said that as a youngster he would pick "garbage" marijuana being grown on the shores of a nearby lake.And Mike Pallone, who played in the preserve as a child, said, "I've always heard stories; there's a lot more than you think."Note: Increased Border Security Forces Growers To Change Locations, Officials Say.Source: Washington Post (DC)Author:  Kari Lydersen, Washington Post Staff WriterPublished: Sunday, August 5, 2007; A14Copyright: 2007 Washington Post Contact: letterstoed washpost.comWebsite: CannabisNews -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #19 posted by mayan on August 06, 2007 at 05:00:45 PT
50 Agencies??? The evil Bud Laden must be stopped, whatever the cost to the taxpayers. THE WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN...A CALL TO ACTION: Dawning Dictatorship? (911-2B & NSPD-51): 2008, the wheels of justice won't be grinding about impeachment, but imprisonment and execution of 9/11 traitors: Muslim Man Detained by Police - Harrassment Initiated Due to William Rodriguez Flyer: bin Laden: A dead nemesis perpetuated by the US government: WAS AN INSIDE JOB - OUR NATION IS IN PERIL:
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Comment #18 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on August 05, 2007 at 22:11:57 PT
Barry Cooper was on Geraldo
The Never Get Busted Again former LEO came across pretty well.He defended his video by criticizing the marijuana laws, and when Geraldo pointed out that his tips could be used to hide harder drugs, Cooper attacked prohibition in general.He said prohibition only changed the supplier, likening it to taking the beer business from Coors and turning it over to Al Capone.He seemed genuine.
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Comment #17 posted by dongenero on August 05, 2007 at 19:35:17 PT
Thanks for the heads up GCW
Thanks for thinking of me.
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Comment #16 posted by The GCW on August 05, 2007 at 18:26:39 PT
BPG / Montano Velo cycle clothing is now available for order.(For people unaware, Berkeley Patients Group / Montano Velo bike clothing has red crosses with a green cannabis leaf in the middle.)I put more info on comment #38 at is a picture that shows the team with the jersey, bibs and hats.
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on August 05, 2007 at 16:05:14 PT
Make Marijuana a Legal Cash Crop
By Ronald FraserSunday, August 05, 2007Once a small part of Alabama's farm economy, marijuana is now the state's top money crop. Nationally, with an annual market value of $35.8 billion, marijuana ranks ahead of corn and wheat crops combined. As Alabama's congressional delegation helps piece together a new federal farm bill in Washington, it should consider how marijuana, long an agricultural outcast, would better serve the folks back home as a legal, regulated crop - like tobacco. A good starting point for this policy review is, "Marijuana Production in the United States (2006)," a study by Jon Gettman, a regional economics expert and adjunct instructor at Shepard University. Snipped:Complete Article:
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Comment #14 posted by whig on August 05, 2007 at 15:19:56 PT
Richard Zuckerman
I would not want my child attending a public school with Black youth during this day and age!!!! If you don't like this comment, then why don't you arrest me for flying the U.S. Flag upside down!!Richard, I don't think you should be arrested for that, but I do think your fear of black people is sad.
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Comment #13 posted by Richard Zuckerman on August 05, 2007 at 15:09:41 PT:
Jacob Sullum wrote an article entitled "Slamming the Sick, Stiffing the States", on page 27 of the August 1, 2007, issue of New York Post, against the GOP stance against Medical Cannabis!At the time of this typing, I'm listening to the Sunday radio show of Alex Jones, Alex Jones announced early in the show that ABC has erased many of our votes on the results supporting Ron Paul in the Republican Presidential Debates. Alex Jones said the only way to stop the federal government from listening in on your cell telephone is to remove the battery from the cell phone. He said the feds are planning our future of computer digital cameras to read our lips, watch our walking gait, for signs of hostility which would provide probable cause for arrest. If you believe Rudolph Giuliani's "broken windows" theory of the administration of criminal justice has benefitted us, you'd better think twice! Ron Paul also said England has openly released Hoof and Mouth Disease germs!!! Is this what you want to vote for?One of the lawyers for the U.S. Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education "education" decision died today. Oh, well! I would not want my child attending a public school with Black youth during this day and age!!!! If you don't like this comment, then why don't you arrest me for flying the U.S. Flag upside down!!What is the opposite of Progress? CONGRESS! And I repeat myself: Richard Paul Zuckerman. 
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Comment #12 posted by ekim on August 05, 2007 at 14:46:06 PT
"overkill"? How about, "ridiculous"
today i tried to get in as the topic was on blogs and internet news being the driving force of new info.
i feel that if more reform sites were mentioned that would not hurt.
maybe on mon show will be talk of the falling bridge Todd Dorman, Quad-City Times and i see that Taxpayers for Common Sense will be on -- so the question is how can we contuinue to spend over 60 billion a year on this failed drug the Kapt says 50 agencies-- i have heard it said that to repair or replace all needed bridges in the USA would cost 30 billionON WASHINGTON JOURNAL
Monday, August 6 
7am - Newspaper Articles & Viewer Calls
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8:30am - Newspaper Articles & Viewer Calls
9:15am - Stephen Ellis, Taxpayers for Common Sense, Vice President |Submit Guest Questions
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on August 05, 2007 at 11:45:02 PT
That's really nice. I have a heavy heart for people and lack of justice is hard to handle and that is one thing that keeps me going. I call it being fair.
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Comment #10 posted by whig on August 05, 2007 at 11:40:25 PT
My father has a framed piece of art in his office, which is actually Hebrew and English text: Justice, justice shalt thou pursue.It's Deuteronomy 16:20.
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on August 05, 2007 at 11:34:44 PT
I mind double standards. If we are against something that we should always be against it. When a person locks the door to his heart bad things happen. I am listening to musemans music right now. It's going thru 9 speakers and it is so good. I love museman.PS: You are really growing young man.
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Comment #8 posted by whig on August 05, 2007 at 11:31:05 PT
The cure
Partake freely, and don't persecute us.Just as 2,000 years ago, but we shall be crucified no longer.
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Comment #7 posted by whig on August 05, 2007 at 11:26:09 PT
Someone up to no good hears the phone ring.Does that mean telephones cause paranoia?
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Comment #6 posted by HempWorld on August 05, 2007 at 11:25:12 PT
Glenn Beck on CNN on Legalization Tonight!
7 & 9 PM Eastern today/SundayGod's energizer bunny is unstoppable! This is God's green revolution...Thank you God!Amen
Nobody can stop this!
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Comment #5 posted by whig on August 05, 2007 at 11:24:00 PT
How could someone want to partake of that which they are trying to destroy? That's what I don't understand. If they do smoke pot wouldn't they just hate themselves?Don't they just? Hey, that's why I think they claim pot causes paranoia.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on August 05, 2007 at 11:15:52 PT
You said: I bet if half these "drug" agents relaxed with a bowl, they would consider a career change.I say that is exactly what they are trying to prevent from happening.
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Comment #3 posted by legalizeit on August 05, 2007 at 11:10:46 PT
Waste of resources, to make an understatement
Anybody who has ever wondered why the police are so disinterested when you make a burglary or theft report need only look to nonsense like this for an answer. Members of 50 agencies diverted to pull up a bunch of plants, growing in an area that didn't impact anyone and obviously wasn't a big deal till some do-gooder squealer came nosing around, while at the same time real criminals are having a blast stealing people's things, committing armed robbery, rape and who knows what else.The really sad thing is, those who DO get caught for violent crimes often have to serve less jail time than those caught growing Cannabis. I would like to find any politician that would publicly say that this makes sense, yet it is those same politicians that made the crazy laws in the first place and stubbornly keep them in place "for the childruuuun."Such a waste of everything, most importantly the peaceful, healing herb. I bet if half these "drug" agents relaxed with a bowl, they would consider a career change. Maybe if we got some politicians into Washington with a sliver of sense, a new job would be mandatory for many worthless DEAth agents.
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Comment #2 posted by user123 on August 05, 2007 at 10:39:40 PT:
You're Right
50 Agencies? What'd they do? Bring along Animal Control, Dept of Motor Vehicles, Social Services, MPP, etc...If there's 50 agencies out in that area who's goal is to erradicate marijuana, then I've got a bridge in Minneapolis to sell you.
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on August 05, 2007 at 09:45:08 PT:
50 Agencies? 50????
Children, can you say, "overkill"? How about, "ridiculous"? It's a wonder there were no tragedies involved (other than the uprooting of the crop) due to too many armed, overzealous superhero wannabes. Sounds like too many people are out to make political hay out of this tempest in a teapot. Don't they have anything else to do with our money?
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