The Desert IndependentTM
Serving Blythe and the Desert Regions of the Southwest Since 2001
Marijuana eradication conducted in the San Bernardino National Forest
October 9, 2017
SAN BERNARDINO NATIONAL FOREST, Calif – During the week of September, 18, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s dispatch and personnel from the Drug Enforcement Agency received information regarding an incident that occurred within an illegal marijuana cultivation site in the San Bernardino National Forest. Two hikers reported walking into the marijuana grow in the area of Kinley Creek and Deep Creek.
The area is located well into the National Forest, southeast of Hesperia and north of Lake Arrowhead. While in the marijuana grow, the hikers stated a single gunshot was fired towards them by unknown person(s) also in the grow. Several days had passed before the details regarding this incident were reported to Sheriff’s and DEA officials.
Members of the Sheriff’s Marijuana Enforcement Team (MET) initiated an investigation attempting to locate the marijuana grow site and the suspects responsible for the illegal cultivation and discharge of a firearm. MET investigators located the grow site within an area of the San Bernardino National Forest known as Kinley Creek. Kinley Creek ties into Deep Creek from the south and crosses directly through the Pacific Crest Trail. The Pacific Crest Trail is a long-distance hiking trail which runs north to south throughout the entire length of California, from Mexico to Canada. It is regularly utilized by hikers for long and short distance hiking. The marijuana grow was also located a short distance to the west of the Deep Creek Hot Springs. The hot springs are a regular destination for day hikers.
On the morning of Friday, October 6, the Sheriff’s Marijuana Enforcement Team, assisted by the California National Guard Counter Drug Taskforce and Sheriff’s Aviation, conducted an eradication operation of the grow site. Investigators located evidence indicating at least two suspects were living within the site. It is believed the suspects likely fled on foot as investigators were arriving to the site. No suspects were seen or located during the operation. Investigators located a campsite with a tent, camping equipment and clothing. No firearms or ammunition were located.
A total of 1,904 mature marijuana plants were seized and removed from the forest. The plants were well into the budding stage and ready for harvest. Commercial irrigation tubing and plant fertilizer was located throughout the site. The suspects diverted the natural water source flowing from Kinley Creek to supply water to the plants and clear cu t natural foliage throughout the approximately 4-acre site.
The current and lasting damage caused by a marijuana grow to the plant and animal life within the forest is significant. Suspects involved in marijuana cultivation within the National Forest are known to arm themselves with firearms to protect their marijuana. Hikers should never knowingly enter into a marijuana grow site. Commercial irrigation tubing installed in or near streams and creeks are signs of a marijuana cultivation site nearby. Citizens are encouraged to stay clear of marijuana grows in the forest and immediately report any findings to their local law enforcement.
Please read The Desert Independent's Comments Policy before responding.