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Campaign Against Marijuana Planting Seizes 80,000 Plants During First Week of Program

Wednesday, August 13, 2003
Contact: (415) 703-5837

(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Lockyer today announced the California Department of Justice Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) program eradicated nearly 80,000 marijuana plants during the first week of major operations. The plants are worth an estimated $320 million.

"What is disturbing about these large scale marijuana operations is the danger it presents to California's citizens," Lockyer says. "Last year 56% of plants seized were on public lands. Hikers, campers and other outdoor enthusiasts should not have to worry about stumbling upon gardens protected by armed gunmen that are instructed to protect their crops at any price."

CAMP agents are broken into three teams covering Northern, Central and Southern California regions. During the first week of operations, CAMP Regional teams assisted officers from Tulare, Tuolumne, Calaveras, Yolo, Fresno and Mendocino counties in the removal of illegal marijuana grows. Also involved in CAMP eradication efforts were the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, and the California National Guard.

During CAMP operations, four weapons and ammunition were seized, including a .38-caliber handgun, two .22-caliber long rifles and a .25-caliber semi-automatic pistol. Two individuals were arrested in Calaveras County and one was arrested in Tuolumne County. A homicide victim was also discovered in the course of eradication investigations.

"The danger these illegal operations pose to innocent and unaware citizens is real," CAMP Operations Commander Val Jimenez said. "It is important for people to understand these garden tenders are armed and dangerous."

Under the direction of the California Department of Justice, the CAMP program brings together officers from 70 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to locate, seize and destroy large outdoor marijuana operations during the height of harvesting season. The marijuana-growing season starts in mid-April with harvests ending in late September or early October.

In the 20-year history of the CAMP program, agents have eradicated more than three million plants with an estimated wholesale value of $12 billion. In the 2002 season, CAMP seized a record 354,164 plants worth more than $1.4 billion. Each marijuana plant has the potential to produce one pound of marijuana, with a current street value of $4,000.

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