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Feinstein Urging Support for Central Valley Drug Control
September 18, 2013

   
            Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, sent a letter to the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy urging federal support to reduce drug trafficking and drug-related violence in California’s Central Valley.

            In the letter to the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Feinstein wrote: “California is the largest domestic supplier of marijuana in the United States, with over 1,800 known marijuana grow sites in the Central Valley so far this year. This creates a particularly difficult situation for farmers in the area.  Marijuana growers often deceive landowners about the crops they intend to grow, either lying outright or concealing marijuana among other crops.” 

            Feinstein, who requested $750,000 to support investigations in Fresno, Redding and Sacramento, added: “Fresno County, in particular, is confronting a proliferation of production and violence. Fresno confiscated 206,000 marijuana plants on farmlands so far this year, a significant increase from the 80,053 plants confiscated in 2012. There were 12 shootings in 2012 and 5 shootings so far in 2013, as well as 6 homicides in 2012 – all connected to illegal marijuana production.”

            Full text of the letter follows:

September 17, 2013

The Honorable Gil Kerlikowske
Director
Office of National Drug Control Policy
Executive Office of the President
Washington, D.C. 20503

Dear Director Kerlikowske:

            I write to urge you to provide $750,000 in Fiscal Year 2013 discretionary funding to the Central Valley High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA).  As in past years, this funding would support much-needed marijuana investigative teams in Fresno, Redding and Sacramento which help reduce drug trafficking and drug-related violence throughout California’s Central Valley. 

            California is the largest domestic supplier of marijuana in the United States, with over 1,800 known marijuana grow sites in the Central Valley so far this year.  This creates a particularly difficult situation for farmers in the area.  Marijuana growers often deceive landowners about the crops they intend to grow, either lying outright or concealing marijuana among other crops.  Farmers have also reported marijuana growers sneaking onto their land to cultivate marijuana illicitly.  In the process, these illegal growers destroy large quantities of legitimate crops while polluting and diverting the water supply.

            Fresno County, in particular, is confronting a proliferation of production and violence.  Fresno confiscated 206,000 marijuana plants on farmlands so far this year, a significant increase from the 80,053 plants confiscated in 2012.  There were 12 shootings in 2012 and 5 shootings so far in 2013, as well as 6 homicides in 2012 – all connected to illegal marijuana production.  And, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office receives between 5 and 20 calls each day asking for assistance because of theft, violence and gun activity at illegal marijuana grows.

            Finally, as you know, the Central Valley HIDTA gets plenty of “bang for its buck.”  In 2012, it seized $7.7 billion in drugs and assets out of a nationwide total of $19.7 billion.  This is nearly 40 percent of nationwide HIDTA seizures.

            $750,000 in discretionary funding for the Central Valley HIDTA would go a long way in supporting marijuana investigative teams in Fresno, Redding and Sacramento.  I urge you to provide this much needed funding to the Central Valley HIDTA and would be happy to discuss this matter further.  Thank you very much for your attention to this matter.                                                                                                      

Sincerely,

Dianne Feinstein
Chairman
Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control

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