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Pot plants worth $52 million seized in Sequoia National Park

October 5, 2010 |  8:23 pm

In what is becoming an increasingly common announcement, officials said that last month law enforcement rangers at Sequoia National Park raided an illegal marijuana plot, seizing more than 13,000 plants with a street value of $52 million.

Park officials believe that the pot plantation is tied to a Mexican drug trafficking organization. No arrests have been made in the Sept. 29 operation.

The raid also yielded fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides that harm the native vegetation. In addition, agents cleared out trash piles that are likewise detrimental to the environment and the park's natural water systems.

The Northern California park has for years been a favorite cultivation site for drug cartels because of its rugged backcountry and rural setting. Rangers work with federal agencies to keep tabs on the pot gardens, but officials say the plots are getting more dangerous and heavily guarded.

-- Julie Cart

Photo: A ranger patrols Sequoia National Park in 2005. Credit: Luis Sinco/LA Times