Yakima Is Top In Marijuana Seizures
Yakima County is once again at the top of the state for the number of illegal marijuana plants seized.
Authorities have recovered almost 45 million dollars worth of plants, and people are mixed about whether growers should be stopped.
Sharon Kroes has lived in Yakima for the past 3 years, and when she heard about the county being the marijuana growing capital of the state, she was not surprised.
"I'm afraid it didn't shock me or sadden me like I would like it to. Because it is so much a part of our world today," said Kroes.
So far this year, the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency says authorities have seized more than 57,000 plants from outdoor grow sites in Yakima County.
That number may seem large, but it's actually down from 74,000 plants last year, and over 90,000 in 2009.
The state patrol says hot weather in Central Washington keeps Yakima County at the top.
"We've been blessed with a very unique optimum growing season. And I think that may be one of the reasons we've seen a lot of the illegal production of drugs," said Lt. Terry Liebrecht.
Although officials are working hard to put a stop to growers within the county, there are some who say that it is a waste of time.
Yakima resident Carlos Ortiz says marijuana is a large part of our culture, and thinks authorities should leave it alone.
"It's already around, you know? There ain't no stopping it no more. The people who like it, those are the people who are going to keep on doing it," said Ortiz.
But Sharon Kroes think efforts to stop the drug problem is worth the time and money.
"The fact that people are getting busted is telling me that officials and authorities are doing what they need to do, and i appreciate that," said Kroes.
Grant and Kittitas Counties were second and third on the list of number of plants seized.