The growing number of illegal marijuana farms in California’s Los Padres National Forest is killing animals and polluting the land, Scripps Howard News Service reports. Sgt. Mike Horne of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department narcotics bureau said not only do growers kill animals that get in the way of their gardens, but they also set up shop in natural habitats, poisoning water and land.
“The fertilizers they use, Miracle-Gro and ammonium sulfate, they pour that right into soil,” he said. The number of marijuana plants seized in the Ventura County portion of the Los Padres has increased by 10 percent since 2007, largely because of international drug cartels. The number of weapons seized has risen from one in 2007 to 31 in 2010. Patrick Foy of the California Department of Fish and Game said state forests are ideal for marijuana cultivation, because of their isolation and year-round water supply, “Poaching, pollution, and habitat destruction all go hand in hand with marijuana cultivation,” he said.