A multi-agency series of raids over the last two weeks have eradicated the Yurok tribal lands of Northern California’s Emerald Triangle, according to a report by the Eureka Times-Standard.

The investigation, led by the Yurok tribe itself, carried out a similar exercise last year – taking out a full 15,000 plants. But this year “Operation Yurok” claimed over 55,000 plants, 1 ton of cured marijuana, 7 arrests and the discovery of a butane hash oil lab.

They did so with the assistance of the Humboldt County Drug Task Force, California Department of Fish & Wildlife, the National Guard and the California Department of Forestry. “We’re not going to quit until there are zero plants growing on the reservation,” Yurok vice-chair Susan Masten told the Times-Standard.

So, why are a bunch of Native Americans and hippy forest rangers teaming with drug task forces and the National Guard on a gung-ho mission to make sure their land is cannabis-free?

It’s not that they hate weed. It’s just that they like water more. And water is exactly what the many, many cannabis operations in the area are stealing from the tribal lands, even while the Yurok (and the rest of California) are in the middle of their fourth consecutive year of a serious drought. Growers were diverting whole creeks and streams, sometimes filling swimming pools full of stolen water in order to wet their thirsty crops.

Additional insults to the environment were noted as well. Even the water that wasn’t being diverted was affected by the growers’ practices. Marsten claimed she discovered raw sewage leaks and piles of garbage, which can seep into the ground and contaminate regional water supplies. “This was a total disrespect for our land and resources,” she said. “They’re not following any laws and then they’re devastating the environment and the water at the same time.”

Awesomely, the crew remarked that they saw immediate rejuvenation to the area in some instances. Yurok Tribe Environmental Director Louisa McCovey said she actually witnessed a stream start to build up after having its diversion system dismantled. “We saw a stream come to life,” she said.

We just hope the operation doesn’t further waste Mother Earth’s resources by destroying all that weed. 55,000 plants goes along way. Hopefully all that water wasted wasn’t for nothing.

 

Image via Wikimedia