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Mexican drug cartels using public land to grow marijuana

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Aired 4/19/09

State and federal law enforcement authorities say Mexican drug cartels are increasingly using public land to grow marijuana. However, authorities say this is not the case in San Diego. KPBS Reporter Amy Isackson has details.

Federal law enforcement officials say growing marijuana on public land is a multi-billion dollar industry. They say last year more than 1 million plants with a street value of $4.5 billion were eradicated from state and federal lands in California. And federal officials have tied 80 percent of this year's crop - which they expect to set a record - to Mexican drug cartels.

However, federal officials in San Diego say the situation is different in this county. Marijuana plants seized on public land here account for a sixth of the state's total. Federal officials say the crop does not seem to be tied to Mexico. And they say the amount they've eradicated has remained steady for the past six years.

Federal officials in San Diego say growing conditions are better in Northern California. Amy Isackson, KPBS News.

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