Folks, this is important stuff. I strongly encourage you to catch John’s presentation at an ISE Show near you. In Phoenix February 23-26, and for Arizonans – look for a contest soon where you can win tickets!
If you didn’t catch it, you can read Part 1 of my interview with John here.
As you know illegal immigration has been an emotional and ongoing discussion lately – especially along the southern border. Is illegal immigration a factor when it comes to grow operations or is that a separate conversation?
Illegal immigration is definitely a factor when it comes to grow operations on our public wild lands. Since more than 90 percent of the growers we deal with in the woods are illegally in the country from Mexico, the problem off illegal immigration does not stop at simply having non citizens illegally crossing into and residing in the US. With the DTO’s out of central Mexico paying the way for, and outfitting, these cultivators to get across the boarder into California to start grow operations, the problem of ineffective border control is illuminated. We need to realize illegal immigration into California from Mexico in SOME cases has a much more significant impact in the US. One of the biggest being the development of clandestine organized criminal cultivation operations that destroy our wildlife resources, poison our water systems, and present a major public safety and law enforcement threat. With an estimated 3500-5000 armed illegal aliens living in the California mountains throughout the grow season each year as just one example, one can see the depth of the problem.
I believe that one thing often overlooked when it comes to criminal activity along the border is the damage to the environment – is that a fair statement? Can you talk a bit about environmental damage being done?
Environmental damage is one of the biggest problems associated with illegal border crossings from Mexico leading to clandestine marijuana cultivation operations. Environmental crimes such as water pollution, streambed alteration, wildlife killing and poisoning, and habitat destruction resulting from public land cultivation has become some of the most damaging resource crimes in California and other western states.
Do hunters, hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts have reason for concern when it comes to their outdoor pursuits? How real are the dangers?
Sportsmen and women most definitely should have a concern when it comes to cultivation operations taking place in the remote areas of public land they recreate on. In many cases, it is hunter and anglers in the process of pursuing their passions that find many of these grow sites, and in many cases have been confronted, threatened, or worse yet, shot at. The “what if” guidelines I discuss in my seminar presentations addresses this in depth.
Are you attending all of the ISE shows? Will this be your first ISE experience?
I will be doing ISE seminars and book signings in my home state of California, Colorado, and Arizona this year, and did similar events last year in California and Utah. The ISE are some of the most enjoyable to attend, given the interests of those attending and the mutual desire to enjoy conservation sports and protect wildlife.
Would you like to tell our readers about El Oasis?
Located in the remote desert southeast of Ensenada, El Oasis Children’s Orphanage is home to approximately 50 children of all ages. Sheltering orphans from the streets of Tijuana and Mexicali, El Oasis provides housing, clothing, food, education and love to these children. In addition, they set up a fund to provide each child the opportunity to attend college.
Since starting to race ATV’s and motorcycles in the SCORE Baja races in Baja Mexico in 2006, My childhood friend Jeff Moore and I have conducted fund raising programs to offset the facility’s education, food, shelter, and logistics costs. Since starting this program, our race team (J&J Iron man racing) has raised approximately $11,000.00 for the kids at the facility. Getting to know the staff and watch the kids grow up there has been the most rewarding, humbling, and inspiring part of our race team’s adventures in Baja, and Jeff and I plan on continuing support for the kids of El Oasis for many years to come.
To donate to the facility or learn more about El Oasis, go to www.eloasis.net.
What’s coming up this year for you?
2012 will be a diverse and challenging year with continued enforcement work with my patrol squad, MET preparation and operations throughout the eradication and arrest season, as well as physical training for my next iron man triathlon.
In addition to the ISE shows mentioned above, I will be doing seminars and book signings at the Safari Club International annual convention in Las Vegas, Nevada in February as well as continuing to work with the National Geographic film crews on season 3 material for Wild Justice.
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