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East County News Service

December 11, 2015 (San Diego)—Over 88,213 marijuana plants were seized in San Diego County in 2015 from 98 separate grow locations, including 60 outdoor and 38 indoor sites with a value of $464,149. The announcement was made by the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Narcotics Task Force in San Diego County, along with the Sheriff’s Department and Health Advocates Rejecting Marijuana (HARM).   

 Of additional significance is the fact that 52,439 plants were removed from our public lands, including U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management properties. DEA/NTF officials estimate that it takes approximately 900 gallons of water to bring an outdoor marijuana plant to harvest, and 450 gallons for an indoor grown plant.  Based on those numbers, the marijuana seized this year used approximately 72 million gallons of water.

Gary Arant, General Manager of the Valley Center Municipal Water District, stated that the 72 million gallons of water equated to 220 Acre Feet of water, or enough water to serve 440 average family's for a year.  He said theft of that much water would be worth $420,000.

Authorities indicate they will continue to intensify their efforts in this area and work with National Guard, BLM, and US Forest Service partners to halt the extensive environmental damage that these grows cause and to ensure that our public lands remain safe.

This year, NTF has continued to see Butane Hash Oil Extraction Laboratories in relation to indoor marijuana grow operations.  There were 34 Hash Oil Laboratories seized since January of 2015.  

“DEA/NTF will continue to combat the dangerous and potentially deadly Hash Oil Extraction Labs,” says DEA San Diego Special Agent in Charge William R. Sherman, adding that the agencies also remain concerned about illicit marijuana cultivation. “These operations are a significant threat to public safety and DEA/NTF will continue to investigate these illegal and dangerous cultivation and manufacturing operations.  All grows seized on public lands and most on private property involve theft of water and diversion of natural sources of water.  During this time of drought, San Diegans should be concerned that our water is being stolen for a criminal enterprise.” 

For further information about marijuana cultivation, please refer to        


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