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Opinion Letters National forests site of illegal activity

Since the mid-1990s, Mexican criminals have been growing marijuana in our national forests. In recent years these operations have spread to at least 20 states and 67 national forests as well as private land. We are still a sovereign nation, are we not? If that's correct it begs the question, why have our national parks been surrendered by our government to Mexican drug traffickers?

An area of 3,500 acres in southern Arizona has been closed to U.S. citizens because of the dangers posed by drug smugglers. We can conclude from this that it is no longer safe for Americans to visit any national park lest they inadvertently wander into a pot-growing operation guarded by well-armed drug traffickers who won't hesitate to kill to protect their merchandise.

The state of Wisconsin has just one national forest, the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, where the first site (in Wisconsin) was discovered in 2008. Most people arrested there have been illegal immigrants from Mexico with connections in California (a shocker there) where traffickers were discovered in 1995. Numerous arrests have been made of course and tens of thousands of plants worth more than a billion dollars have been eradicated over the years.

Many cases of arrests are "pending."

The relaxation of marijuana laws and now its legalization in some states adds significantly to the problem and sends critically mixed messages to law enforcement agencies. Considering the experience of the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency and our Sheriff in Jackson County recently, perhaps our inability to end (permanently) the desecration of our national forests is tied to our governments failure to obtain ACLU approval before making arrests.

In the end, our government's inability or unwillingness to reclaim our national forests and protect private property from drug traffickers (who are in our country illegally) demands this issue be an essential part of the debate on gun control. This is precisely why the Second Amendment was added to The Constitution of the United States. If our government refuses to act decisively, than we must.

David L. Snell — Dillsboro, N.C.





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