The state Department of Natural Resources is stepping up efforts to catch illegal drug growing operations in the state.
Public lands have been an increasing target for the growing of illegal drugs, such as marijuana. DNR conservation warden Bill Engfer says they’re an appealing spot because there are many isolated areas, even with in popular wilderness areas, and heavy traffic often goes unnoticed because they are open to the public.
Millions of dollars in illegal drugs have been found growing on public land in recent years. Engfer says that ends up costing taxpayers because the operators don’t care about preserving the land. He says they usually cut down trees to clear space, leave large amounts of trash behind, and sometimes even pollute with chemicals used to grow their illicit crop.
In addition to increasing its aerial surveillance, the DNR is asking the public to help watch for possible growing operations this summer. Engfer says you shouldn’t intervene directly if you find one though, since the growing area and operators could be dangerous. If you find one, he says you should leave the area right away after trying to note the location, then contact local authorities or the DNR.
The DNR has set up tip lines for reporting growing operations at 1-800-TIP-WDNR (847-9367) and 1-800-NAB-DRUG (622-3784).
AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:16)