San Luis Obispo County narcotics officers recently teamed up with members of the U.S. Forest Service and the State Department of Justice Campaign Against Marijuana Planting in a joint effort to put an end to a North County outdoor marijuana farm on Aug. 27. The county and the state department teamed up again to put down another grow site on Aug. 28.
The forces removed approximately 5,700 cannabis plants in an area located off of Pozo Road and just south of Santa Margarita Lake at the first action, then, a day later, eradicated about 1,140 plants four miles west of Nacimiento Lake Road in the Adelaida area.
Though there was evidence of campsites at both gigantic outdoor grow sites and several packaged pounds of dried marijuana at the Adelaida location no arrests have been made.
The U.S. Forest Service typically leaves the eradication of marijuana cultivation campsites to law enforcement agencies, but because the garden off of Pozo Road was growing on national forest land, the group decided to step in and help with the takedown.
"Marijuana on national forest land is a significant problem," said Kathy Good, a Los Padres National Forest public affairs officer. "What the growers are doing is clearing native vegetation, diverting water from springs and creeks to the crops, and using large quantities of pesticides which all have a negative effect on the national forest resources."
Good said that detecting marijuana gardens is an ongoing process during the growing and harvesting season, which starts in spring and peaks in September and October.
She said that during that timeframe, the grower campsites and their guardians pose serious threats to guests.
"A word of warning to forest visitors: If they come upon a growing site, they should leave quickly and quietly and call 911," Good said. "Do not explore the area or confront the growers."