National

U.S. to dispatch drones to hunt pot over Calif. forests

The federal government plans to escalate its eradication of marijuana plantations in the backwoods of national forests this year, beginning in California with the deployment of larger strike teams and the controversial launching of miniature, remote-controlled spy planes to outfox growers, a top Bush administration official said Thursday.

Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey said an increasing number of pot growers financed by Mexican drug cartels are taking cover in the forest, particularly in the southern Sierra Nevada.

According to Rey, the administration decided to disclose the planned surge in forest surveillance after news organizations persisted in questioning U.S. Forest Service officials about a $100,000 purchase of two battery-powered "unmanned aerial vehicles."

Read the full story at sacbee.com.

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