State Attorney General Xavier Becerra Monday announced the arrests of 148 people so far this year during the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting Program enforcement effort, the nation's largest such multi-agency eradication program.
During this year's effort, CAMP personnel also eradicated 953,459 marijuana plants from 345 raided grow sites across the state and seized 168 weapons, Becerra announced at a downtown Los Angeles news conference.
"Illegal cannabis grows are devastating our communities,'' Becerra said.
"Criminals who disregard life, poison our waters, damage our public lands and weaponize the illegal cannabis black market will be brought to justice."
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Becerra said CAMP enforcement teams have worked "tirelessly" to enforce California's laws against illegal cannabis activity.
"The California Department of Justice is extremely proud of our partnership with federal, state, and local agencies and we look forward to continuing this necessary work," he said.
CAMP agents were divided into three teams that encompass the Northern, Central and Southern California regions, with personnel covering 35 counties in the state.
Becerra said CAMP teams protected public resources against misuse, and safeguarded public land and water from illegal pesticides.
This year, agents assisted in serving more than 120 search warrants in the growing black market of illegal cannabis cultivation on public lands.
Such cultivation sites -- loaded with trash, banned pesticides such as carbofuran, methyl parathion, aluminum phosphate, and illegal fertilizers -- discharge large quantities of these harmful products into the state's waterways, state officials said.
"Combating illegal marijuana cultivation takes dedication, teamwork, perseverance and courage,'' said David Bess, deputy director and chief of the Law Enforcement Division for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
"I'm immensely proud of the work we accomplished during the year with our county, state and federal partners," Bess said. "Together, we are protecting California's natural resources and providing another measure of public safety."