Chomping through woods, water and poison oak, a team of officers, deputies and wardens throughout Northern California bust an illegal marijuana grow.
“When we are walking in we are prepared for battle,” said Robert Farrell from the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
After two months of planning, the team enters the site tucked deep in the Cosumnes River Preserve. They find a small grow of no more than 500 plants, but it’s enough to cause serious damage to natural resources.
“On average, a marijuana plant requires five gallons per day. As you can imagine that is a lot of water.”
The growers mix toxic chemicals directly in nearby rivers, then pump the water with black tubes to feed the plants.
“This was all natural habitat at one point, and now we have wet ground. It has been full of poison. It is full of pesticides.”
The site is typical – tents, food, trash and sometimes, human waste.
And with the grow comes a growing trend: 207,000 plants were eradicated last year in California. While more than half of that has already been confiscated this year alone.
But as more than 2,000 pounds of Tuesday’s remnants are hauled away, these men know they’ll soon be back, doing it all again.
The job now is sifting through the evidence to see if they can find a link to any suspects.