Are our parks becoming safe zones for drug runners?
Earlier this month the U.S. Forest Service published a guide titled: What to do if you encounter a marijuana cultivation site in a National Forest. Then earlier this week Mammoth Cave National Park announced that they will be offering rewards to stop crime within park boundaries. The press release included a quote from Ranger David Alexander, one of the park's law enforcement officers: "Drug activity is a major concern. Every year we find marijuana plots in the park."
Now comes this report from NPS Digest that two men were pulled over for speeding while driving on US 19 by a Summersville PD officer. The officer observed a one-bottle meth cook going on inside and called the Central West Virginia Drug Task Force. Officers learned that the men were staying at the Tailwaters Campground in Gauley River NRA and went there to continue the drug investigation. A search of the tents and campsite revealed precursors of meth production. Both men were arrested and arraigned last Friday in state court. A third man supposedly involved has not been identified yet. The investigation continues, as rangers gather case information from drug task force officers. Both suspects had just gotten out of prison and have meth charges in their criminal histories.
This isn't an isolated incidence of meth production in a national park. Just last year rangers in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area arrested four people in possession of a meth lab.
Bears, mountain lions, snakes and poisen ivy aren't the only things you need to keep your eye on while out on the trail anymore....