WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Doug LaMalfa turned his attention to illegal marijuana grows in Siskiyou County on Wednesday, releasing a series of videos detailing the destruction of greenhouses and cannabis plants within the Mount Shasta Vista Subdivision.
Rep. LaMalfa joined Siskiyou County Sheriff Jeremiah LaRue and county supervisor Ray Haupt at the end of May, when the videos were shot, before bulldozers started working to clear the plot. According to LaMalfa, the clearance was the result of a court order won by District Attorney Kirk Andrus.
"I went to see firsthand the massive amount of organized crime and illegal cartel grow operations overwhelming Siskiyou County. The rapid growth of this criminal enterprise was staggering," LaMalfa said in a statement. "Just a few years ago the area was sparsely populated with juniper and scrub brush dotting the rocky hillsides at the base of Mt. Shasta. Now, thousands of illegal grows have filled the landscape with large greenhouses.
"Trash, illegally used pesticides, human waste and fuel cover the ground that has been scraped bare of organic matter with nothing but dust left. Nothing about the organized criminal grows in Siskiyou county is legal. These grow sites are destroying our environment. Local wildlife is now nonexistent in the area. This level of criminality cannot be tolerated.”
In one video, Rep. LaMalfa climbed into a bulldozer and plowed part of the grow into a pile himself.
The Congressman's office said that there are more than 4,000 grow sites in the area, centered around the Mount Shasta Vista Subdivision. An estimated 6,000 people live within these properties.
LaMalfa praised Sheriff LaRue's efforts to crack down on the grows and enforce the County's recent water ordinances that were designed to target grows, but he called on the federal and California state governments to "help solve this problem."
Many of the Mount Shasta Vista growers are Hmong, and Siskiyou County's attempts to curb grows have ignited racial tensions in the area — only exacerbated by mandatory evacuations of Mount Shasta Vista during the Lava Fire, and an officer-involved shooting that ended with the death of a Hmong man.