More marijuana has been confiscated in the last two weeks than in the two
months of harvest season last year.

In just two days last week, the County of Mendocino Marijuana Eradication
Team, assisted by the California National Guard and the Campaign Against
Marijuana Production, seized 24,758 plants from 14 sites in the Rose Creek
area off the Masonite Road and Mountain View Road area.

That brings the last two weeks' total to 51,649 plants seized.

In the two harvest months during which the state assisted the county last
year, 34,934 plants were confiscated.

"It's pretty amazing, but it's kind of discouraging," Sheriff's Capt. Kevin
Broin said of the increased seizure and apparent increase in marijuana

Also located last week was evidence of a camp that had as many as eight
people living in it, according to COMMET commander Sgt. Rusty Noe.

The week before, camps with guns were located, leading Noe to warn people
to be careful when hiking in remote areas.

The U.S. Forest Service also has issued a warning that public forests are
increasingly becoming popular places to grow illegal marijuana.

"We don't want to alarm the public but we want to make sure they know this
is going on," said Mendocino National Forest Supervisor Jim Fenwood.

He said there's a particular concern with deer hunting season about to begin.

The Forest Service warned that people who come across something suspicious
should leave the area immediately and notify local law enforcement.

"Do not enter any garden area," said national forest Patrol Capt. Daryl Rush.

The Forest Service noted growing operations are larger and frequently are
tended and guarded by armed individuals.

Forestry officers have found camps that have included exercise facilities,
tents, tree houses, barbed wire fences and numerous firearms, Rush said.

During this time of year the outdoor marijuana harvest season hikers are
more likely to cross paths with marijuana growers, he said.

Rush listed things forest users should watch for. They include:

Isolated tents where no recreational activity is present.

Trailers with no evidence of recreational activities.

Vehicular traffic in the same isolated areas on a regular basis.

Unusual structures with buckets, garden tools, fertilizer bags and the like.

Signs of cultivation or soil disturbance in unlikely areas.

Black piping and trash scattered in forested areas.

Rush said people wishing more information or to notify law enforcement
authorities of a suspected garden in the Mendocino National Forest, can
contact him at 530-934-1164.

Noe asks that anyone coming in contact with a marijuana garden contact the
Sheriff's Office or COMMET at 463-4546.

Pubdate: Mon, 12 Aug 2002
Source: Ukiah Daily Journal, The (CA)
Copyright: 2002, MediaNews Group, Inc.
Author: Glenda Anderson