Pot growers Warned: Feds, local officials planning to hunt down big marijuana farms in Merced County
Category: News | Posted on Tue, April, 17th 2012 by THCFinder
Local law enforcement announced Monday that it will be working with federal agencies to crack down on large-scale medical marijuana grows, primarily on agricultural land.
"We're going to start (pushing for) federal charges against people because of the state's reluctance to file cases," said Tom MacKenzie, spokesman for the Merced County Sheriff's Department. "We're notifying people that there's going to be law enforcement action."
The Sheriff's Department is sending out letters and emails telling medical marijuana growers they could be subject to criminal charges and seizure of property.
Merced Sun-Star - Paul Johnson of the Merced Multiagency Task Force carts off marijuana plants pulled from a corn field south of Merced in 2007. The Merced County Sheriff's Department and other local law enforcement agencies will join federal agents in targeting large-scale marijuana grows. on Healy Road and Vassar Avenue on Wednesday August 22, 2007.
The move follows several public announcements by U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner that federal and local law enforcement officers in the Central Valley will collaborate in shutting down large marijuana operations.
"We are working with sheriffs in at least six counties (including Merced) to target marijuana grows on agricultural lands," said Wagner, the region's top federal prosecutor. "Large grows, regardless of whether they're called medical or not, are in violation of federal law."
While large outdoor marijuana grows -- often associated with guns, violence and environmental destruction -- tend to garner little public support, cannabis advocates have voiced concern about this most recent campaign.
"If we actually see local law enforcement working hand in hand sending out teams of deputies with federal agencies, that's new," said Nate Bradley, a former California police officer and spokesman for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. "If they actually start going after legitimate co-ops, you'll see protest like you've never seen before. They're going to get one of the biggest states' rights battles."
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