“The issue remains untenable…”
Obernolte requests to
Attorney General Garland:
Obernolte tours illegal marijuana
grows from the air
July 14, 2021____ Washington
U.S. Congressman Jay Obernolte (CA-08) toured illegal marijuana cultivation
sites in San Bernardino County from the air, on board the San Bernardino
County Sheriff’s Heli 40-King, with the Aviation Crew, Saturday after
sending a second letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland
requesting federal assistance to address the large-scale illegal marijuana grow
crisis in Southern California.
“While we are grateful for your previous work addressing a portion of these
grows, we write asking you to address the ongoing operations in the surrounding
areas, particularly in San
Bernardino County and Los Angeles County. The issue remains untenable for
residents living in these areas,” read the letter sent by Rep.
Obernolte and neighboring Rep. Mike Garcia (CA-25). “We continue to
hear from our constituents of heinous incidents of intimidation, coercion, and
violence being used by illegal growers to ensure that their operations are
undisturbed. Not only do these criminals threaten the residents, but they are
damaging our public lands and water resources.”
The San Bernardino County Sheriff currently has
around 1000 potential grow sites under investigation, with the number of
illegal grow operations in Southern California increasing in some areas
by over 300 percent since 2019. These grows
pose serious risks to both public safety and the
environment, with subjects intimidating residents, shooting at law enforcement,
impeding access to areas, using dangerous banned chemicals, and stealing
precious water resources.
Illegal marijuana grows currently consume between 11.4 and 36.3 million liters of water daily
"The illegal cultivation of cannabis is a threat to our
communities' public safety.
It impacts our rural
area’s natural resources and threatens the local wildlife. My Department and San
Bernardino County Board of Supervisors are taking immediate action to affect
this fast-growing illegal activity and require support from our federal
partners in eradicating the unlawful cultivation of cannabis," said
Lieutenant Marc Bracco of the San Bernardino County Sheriff Department- Gangs
and Narcotics Division.
The aerial tour with San Bernardino
Sheriff’s Department officials examined a number of massive grow compounds in the Phelan and El Mirage area, many employing easily identifiable berms and gates to
control access to the sites. Water transport trucks and storage tanks were
visible at several locations from the air, along with significant quantities of
trash dumped into the environment.
Saturday, July 10th, District CA-08 Representative Jay Obernolte also
joined local leaders and San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon at a
community town hall hosted by the Phelan and Pinion Hills Community Service
District to address issues regarding the illegal grows. Community
residents raised concerns ranging from the destruction of Joshua Trees and
water theft to cartel involvement and the need for federal assistance to
address the grows.
Read the full letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland here.
grows from the air.
Congressman Jay Obernolte