Monday, August 17, 2009
La Brea Fire Started by Illegal Mexican Cultivation Cartel
Fire Investigators Suspect La Brea Fire Caused By Marijuana Cultivation
Evidence Points to Illegal Cooking Fire As Cause of the 84,000-Acre
By Ray Ford
Saturday, August 15, 2009
A week-long investigation by U.S. Forest Service Special Agents, Santa
Barbara County Sheriff's Narcotics Unit, and Fire Investigators
revealed that the origin of the La Brea fire is the result of a
marijuana drug trafficking operation. Specifically, officials believe
the fire started from flames or sparks from a campfire used for cooking.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Narcotics Unit has confirmed that
the camp at the origin of the fire was an illegal marijuana operation
believed to be headed by a Mexican National drug organization.
At the intersection of Owl Canyon and the south fork of La Brea Canyon,
near a backpacker's campground known as Cuchadas, the fire began in
one of the most remote and overgrown sections of the San Rafael
Wilderness. The camp is several miles inside the area and approximately
two air miles south of the Sierra Madre Ridge.
Evidence of the garden, which did not burn during the fire, was
discovered in the past few days. The Santa Barbara Sheriff's
Narcotics Unit, which has been working to eradicate other cultivation
sites in nearby parts of the back country, believes the suspects are
still within the San Rafael Wilderness and may be trying to leave the
area on foot.
Officials warn not to approach anyone who looks suspicious but to
instead contact the nearest law enforcement agency. Anyone with further
information is urged to contact U.S. Forest Service, Santa Barbara
County Sheriff's Department or local law enforcement agencies.
The La Brea Fire Tip Line is still open, and anyone with additional
information helpful to this ongoing investigation is urged to contact
investigators at (805) 686-5074; your call can remain anonymous.
http://www.independ ent.com/news/ 2009/aug/ 15/fire-investig ators-determine\