Numerous wildfires in Northern California have left 39 people dead and hundreds missing, and forced over 100,000 to abandon their homes and evacuate. Law enforcement officials and legal marijuana industry leaders alike are beginning to suspect the Mexican drug cartels played a role in starting the deadly fires.
While massive wildfires are far from uncommon in California’s forests, they usually occur in December and January, not October. Moreover, this year’s have widely been described as unprecedented in size and destruction. Some 16 fires have burned over 200,000 acres of land in Northern California so far:
— AP West Region (@APWestRegion) October 14, 2017
Law enforcement authorities – including senior Department of Homeland Security officials – and key people within the legal marijuana business quickly noticed that the areas hit hardest by the fires are the same places that California’s marijuana industry legally grows cannabis, and are now starting to suspect foul play.
The suspicious timing and sheer destruction of the fires has led them to believe the Mexican drug cartels – infamous for their ruthless tactics – had a hand in starting them. These cartels, which run a large share of the world’s multi-billion dollar illegal drug trade, certainly have the means to pull of an attack like this.
They also have an enormous incentive to drive up prices and hurt their competitors, and these fires are already accomplishing that. If Mexican drug lord involvement is confirmed, it will likely spark an international crisis between the United States and Mexico over the latter’s failure to rein in its criminal cartels.
Facebook photos provided to GotNews show the wildfires have caused staggering damage, with several before-and-after pictures revealing the extent of the devastation:
The New York Times reported yesterday that tens of thousands of marijuana growers live in this area, the vast majority of whom have no insurance. Furthermore, since marijuana remains an illegal drug under the Controlled Substances Act, the industry still uses cash.
GotNews can confirm that millions of dollars in cash has already been lost to the fires, in addition to tens of millions more in property damage.
According to NBC News, thousands of acres of marijuana have already been burned, and the fires have also wiped out “recent investments in infrastructure to comply with licensing regulations in preparation for recreational marijuana legalization next year.”
The total damage caused by these fires will be unclear for a while, as many of them are still burning:
Stay tuned for more.
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