September 4, 2013

"Marijuana grower killed — and nearly decapitated — by booby trap he set to protect plants."

"Police say Daniel Rickett was drunkenly riding a quad bike when he ran into his own piano wire trap. Hikers found the 50-year-old's body lying near four large plants."

All that to protect 4 plants?!

Here's a recent segment of "This American Life" about the extent of marijuana growing in Mendocino County, California:
A few years ago, Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman was trying to find a way to deal with the proliferation of marijuana in his county. Allman wanted to spend less time dealing with growers who were growing small, legal amounts, so he could focus on other problems — including criminals who run massive marijuana farms in the Mendocino National Forest....
By "legal amounts," they mean not illegal under state law. The "legal amount" is 20 plants. The giant operations consume many acres of federal land (complete with irrigation systems and pesticides). Why don't the feds police their own land?

ADDED: Some answers to that last questions here. For the millions of acres of national forests, the federal government is regarded as a property owner:

When the ownership of a piece of land, government land, is considered proprietary, the government is said to have taken over none of the state's obligations for law enforcement. In other words, state and local law enforcement officers still handle calls for service as if the land were privately owned. The sheriff or city police will respond and they'll handle calls without regard to the property's ownership.
But the federal government can use its legislative power to regulate this land, which isn't something private landowners can do, and it could choose to take over the law enforcement if it wanted. Given the scale of the "massive marijuana farms" — protected by armed guards who shoot at ordinary people who traipse about in the forest — you'd think the feds would take responsibility. It seems crazy for local police to handle that, and it's the federal government's marijuana policy, in conflict with what many states are trying to do, that's the foundation of the problem.

11 comments:

Fritz said...

"Why don't the feds police their own land?"

Because there's much more Federal land than they have personnel to police.

Big Mike said...

Why don't the feds police their own land?

Because we're too busy trying to be the world's policeman? Because we're too busy spying on ordinary Americans, to the exclusion of keeping an eye on Nidal Hasan or the Tsarnaev brothers?

Clyde said...

Darwin Award. Hoist on his own petard, or more accurately, almost decapitated on his own piano wire. The Headless Pothead rides again...

SJ said...

About the size of Federal land...

The Western States have more Federal land (as a percentage of land inside State borders) than most other States.

It's an after-effect of the expansion of National Parks System during the late phase of transitioning Territories into States.

The Federal enforcement effort on those lands is fairly thin. I'd guess that they work for the Dept. of the Interior, and are Game Wardens (or something analogous).

Since there aren't really neighborhoods, the Wardens aren't beat cops. Further, the Wardens depend heavily on hunters/trappers/fishermen/campers to report things, because those people are more numerous, and can cover more territory (as a group) than the Officers can.

Which makes coverage and enforcement spotty.

However, Wardens still travel around, keeping an eye on things. But they have hundreds of square miles of National Park/National Forest to police, and lots of things to watch out for.

tmitsss said...

Another senseless death in the War on Drugs just like Tommy Morrison

Michael McNeil said...

Notice that he wasn't killed because he was stoned, but because he was drunk.

Anthony said...

How much obligation does the state have to police land which it can't tax?

California exempts its own property, including the University, from local property tax, but each campus has to negotiate agreements for payment for local-government-provided services. Do the Feds do something similar?

Sam L. said...

I'm so bummmmmmmmmed, maaaaan.

ken in sc said...

The federal government should sell most of the land it owns. It does not even show up on the national balance sheet. It could pay off most if not all of the national debt. The Brits, under Thatcher, sold off their coal mines, railroads, and power companies, and balanced their budget for the first time in decades. We could do the same.

Rusty said...

No Ken. Lease it to the growers. Assess a value and charge them rent.

Charles Pergiel said...

Most Federal land is in the West, and much of it is National Parks or Forests. But don't kid yourself, the only reason it is that way is because it isn't good for anything more profitable.