Mar 27 2007
Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) called for the inclusion of Shasta County in the Central Valley California High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) due to the large amount of marijuana cultivated on federal land in the Northern California County.
Senator Feinstein today sent a letter to John Walters, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, calling for his approval of the HIDTA designation for Shasta County. The designation would make Shasta County eligible for federal, state and local law enforcement resources and intelligence-sharing to assist the County in its efforts to stop the production of marijuana by dangerous, large-scale growers.
Following is the text of Senator Feinstein’s letter to Director Walters:
The Honorable John Walters
White House Office of National Drug Control Policy
750 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20503
Dear Director Walters:
I am writing to strongly support the request of Shasta County, California Sheriff Tom Bosenko, asking that you approve including Shasta County as part of the Central Valley California High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA).
This designation is badly needed. Stated simply, Shasta County is ground zero for marijuana grown on federal lands.
This is not just a Shasta County local law enforcement problem – it is an obvious issue of serious national concern. The U.S. Forest Service now estimates that 50% of the marijuana produced in the United States is coming off of our national forests. The 1.4 million marijuana plants seized on national forests in 2006 represented a near doubling from the 744,000 plants seized only two years ago, in 2004. And of this 1.4 million, 1.1 million of the seized plants were grown in California. Shasta County, with its 181,065 plants seized, had numbers that far exceeded any other county.
These are not simply local pot growers. U.S. Forest Service attributes these unprecedented levels of marijuana seizures to a rise in operations on public lands by Armed Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations. The Forest Service describes armed encounters and shootouts on public lands, as well as booby traps employed in support of commercial-sized operations that are also polluting our public lands with garbage, poisons, toxic chemicals, and fertilizers.
Shasta law enforcement officials have done what they can to assist in this fight, but it is clear that the County needs to be able to leverage the federal, state and local law enforcement resources and intelligence-sharing that is only available through a HIDTA designation, so that they can help eradicate the production and distribution of illegal drugs, not just in Shasta County and California, but throughout the United States.
The Executive Board of the Central Valley California HIDTA has recommended that Shasta County be added to its list of approved counties, and it is imperative this be done as quickly as possible so that law enforcement agencies can prepare for this summer’s peak marijuana growing season.
Thank you for your consideration of this request and if I can be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.
cc: Tom Bosenko, Shasta County Sheriff
William Ruzzamenti, Executive Director, Central Valley HIDTA
MacGregor Scott, U.S. Attorney (E.D. Calif.)
Abigail Kimball, U.S. Forest Service Chief
John C. Twiss, U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement Director
Les Burrill, U.S. Forest Service Assistant Director