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More toxic, environmentally hazardous: illegal marijuana grow busted in Sierra Nevadas


The Sierra Nevadas in Madera County are being threatened by a massive marijuana grow.

This Mexican-based marijuana grow and others on the federal public land are described as more toxic, dangerous and environmentally hazardous than ever before.

“We have undertaken aggressive efforts over a long period of time to go after this issue as vigorously as we possibly can,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California, Mcgregor Scott.

On Monday, the U.S. Forest Service and the Madera County Sheriff’s Office went into a grow site with 6,000 plants near Dutch Oven Creek.

Lester Flores and Luis Reyes Madrigal of Mexico were captured and now face an array of charges.

The hazardous pesticide, carbofuran, that’s banned in the U.S. was also discovered.

“A pesticide that is banned where only an eighth of a teaspoon can easily kill a human being but yet we found a half of gallon of that and some of it was re-purposed and used already on the cannabis plants,” said Dr. Mourad Gabriel, Co-Director of the Integral Ecology Research Center.

The use of carbofuran is increasing, dramatically.

Back in 2013, it was discovered at 12% to 15% of the grows in California and last year, it was at 90% according to Dr. Gabriel.

“Used, applied and documented within those sites,” Dr. Gabriel added.

The result on the environment is catastrophic.

5.4M gallons was diverted from nearby rivers and streams for this one grow, angering federal officials in charge of enforcement.

“This is all going on in the pristine national forest of the United States of America and this is simply unacceptable,” Scott concluded.

The two men arrested face a minimum of 10 years in prison.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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