Nearly 100,000 cannabis plants were eradicated last week in what law enforcement has dubbed Operation Emerald Tri-County in the heartland of America’s pot-growing country.
The week long-operation which concluded Friday netted 86,578 pot plants, 660 pounds of processed bud, six guns and nearly $9,000, officials in rural Northern California stated. Five individuals were arrested.
The operations at the intersection of Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity county — the infamous Emerald Triangle — stemmed from complaints said Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman at a press conference Friday, according to reports. Below the pot plantations, the Eel River was dry, while up in the marijuana gardens an estimated 500,000 gallons of water was being used to sustain the plants.
Law enforcement called the environmental devastation unprecedented and “unreal”. Sheriff’s deputies said they will be back to center of the Emerald Triangle — some two and half hour’s drive from a paved road — at the height of harvest season in September.
California is the largest domestic producer of cannabis in the U.S., which consumes about 2,500-5,000 metric tons of the crop each year. An estimated 40,000 pot farms may exist in California, a legislative analysis finds. Efforts to regulate the 19 year-old medical cannabis industry in California are pending in the state Senate this year. A ballot proposal to tax and regulate legal cannabis in California is expected next year.