CAMP weeds out illegal pot harvests |

CAMP weeds out illegal pot harvests

William Ferchland

More than 4,000 marijuana plants were seized in El Dorado County by authorities in the 2004 growing season, which runs from late July to early October.

El Dorado ranked 22nd in the number of plants seized during 181 raids in 30 counties. There are 58 counties in California.

The total number of plants seized during the season was 621,315, the most ever by the Campaign Against Marijuana Plants since its 1983 inception and 75 percent more than last year’s capture of 466,054 plants.

The estimated street value of the seized plants was close to $2.5 billion.

“CAMP will continue it’s ongoing mission to rid our state of illegally cultivated marijuana that continues to plague and jeopardize the safety of our citizens,” said the program’s commander Val Jimenez.

More than half, 58 percent, of the captured marijuana was found on public lands such as state and national parks and forests.

While the climate of South Lake Tahoe is not conducive to large farms of marijuana, authorities have stumbled upon indoor gardens.

South Lake Tahoe police Lt. Martin Hewlett said most marijuana gardens found inside are for personal use or contain a small number of plants.

“We very seldom see an organized indoor grow,” Hewlett said.

CAMP is comprised of various law enforcement agencies and is headed by the California Department of Justice. Besides dozens of arrests and confiscation of weapons, law enforcement officials tied 80 percent, or 497,616 plants, to Mexican drug organizations.

“Each year we will continue our aggressive efforts to exterminate these illegal operations and actively pursue any leads we have from this program to prosecute individuals and groups that have foolishly decided to use California land to further destructive activities,” said Attorney General Bill Lockyer.

– E-mail William Ferchland at

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