As law enforcement around the state combats hidden marijuana farms on public lands, the Eastern Sierra is not immune. Last year thousands of plants were removed from a series of farms in the Sierra near Independence. This year, law enforcement is back at it. The Mono Narcotic Enforcement Team reports a raid on another outdoor farm in the White Mountains.
Officers say that on August 15th, MONET agents helped Esmeralda County with a possible grow site on the east side of the White Mountains, on Dry Creek. A citizen had walked through the farm which tipped off law enforcement. After searching the area, several plots were found with a total of 3,000 mature plants.
No farmers were arrested with this White Mountain raid. Last year in the Independence raids, officers were able to arrest some of the farmerscamped out with the crop. All were Mexican nationals, said to be paid or coerced into work by drug cartels.
Lt. Weber with the Mono County Sheriffs Department reports that officers did find campsites this time, but he did not see any evidence to determine if the Mexican drug cartels were involved. He did say officers did not find firearms with the camp site.
The Eastern Sierra is clearly not immune to this problem that plagues public land managers in other parts of the state. Lt. Weber reports that the Sheriffs Department, along with the state Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, has been searching the Eastern Sierra for outdoor grows this year.