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Outdoor Cultivation Trends

Mexican traffickers are expanding cannabis cultivation operations eastward to states that appear to have less law enforcement scrutiny and fewer eradication operations. Mexican criminal groups and DTOs operating in the United States have traditionally established outdoor grow sites in the western region of the country, primarily in California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. However, focused marijuana investigations in western states that coincide with increased detection capabilities and large-scale eradication operations have resulted in growers expanding or shifting their outdoor grow operations eastward. Though successful in eradicating plants and arresting growers, these operations appear to have resulted in groups increasingly seeking areas with seemingly less law enforcement scrutiny of outdoor grow operations. Mexican groups operating large outdoor grow sites were detected and/or plants were eradicated in several midwestern and eastern states.

National Guard Involvement in Cannabis Eradication

The National Guard Counterdrug Program has assisted local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies annually since 1989 with cannabis eradication. Soldiers and airmen provide aerial reconnaissance, ground reconnaissance, and criminal-analyst support in the 50 states and 4 territories. In 2008, 6,239,221 cannabis plants and 849,141 pounds of processed marijuana were seized by law enforcement officers with the assistance of the National Guard.

Source: United States National Guard Counterdrug Division.

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