A drug war in the middle of Sequoia National Park? CNN is reporting that federal, state, and county law enforcement have eradicated over a billion dollars worth of marijuana plants being cultivated deep within the park. The operation is eerily complex and dangerous, putting hikers at risk of running across armed gangmembers protecting the crop. Most of the pot growers are illegal immigrants, smuggled across the border specifically for the job.
Once at the national forest, the growers carry with them everything they need — tents, food, guns, fertilizer, irrigation hose and marijuana seeds. Armed men keep watch over the gardens day and night during planting season, officials say.
They dam mountain creeks to create pools, then siphon the water into miles of gravity-fed hoses that lead to smaller tubing to irrigate the plants. Nearly all of the marijuana plants have individual drip lines.
Sequoia National Park is approximately four hundred miles north of the Mexican border, southeast of Fresno.