San Diego County pot raids net $1 billion in seizures
Overall seizures on private and public land were put at 378,243 plants, a decrease of 23% from the previous year.
But seizures on public land were listed at 294,175 plants, an increase of 17%, according to figures released this week by the Drug Enforcement Administration office in San Diego.
Even with the overall decrease in seizures, marijuana growing continues to be a lucrative, if illicit, business. Investigators seized marijuana worth at approximately $1 billion in raids on 165 growing locations; 118 persons were arrested. Figures are for Jan. 1 to Dec. 1, the traditional "growing season" for pot.
For 2011, officials are vowing to increase surveillance on public lands, particularly those controlled by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.
A federal and local task force is dedicated "to keeping this dangerous drug off the streets of San Diego," said Ralph W. Partridge, special agent in charge of the DEA's San Diego division.
-- Tony Perry in San Diego
Photo: Marijuana grown on public land in San Diego County. Credit: Drug Enforcement Administration