War in the Woods
Combating the Marijuana Cartels on America's Public Lands
Publication Date: October 2010
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The inside story of the drug cartels on our public lands—and the game wardens taking them on.
Lt. John Nores Jr., a longtime California Fish and Game Warden, serves as the point man for California Department of Fish and Game anti-marijuana actions in the North Coast District. In 2008, Nores received the Medal of Valor from Governor Arnold Schwarznegger for his leadership. James A. Swan, PhD, has written eight nonfiction books and recently produced a documentary film, Endangered Species: California Fish and Game Wardens. He is the co-executive producer of a forthcoming TV series on game wardens produced by Original Productions for National Geographic that features Nores.
As the former director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, I am well aware that drug trafficking organizations are using America's public lands to cultivate marijuana and are protecting their drug crops with dangerous booby traps. Brave law enforcement officers across the nation are confronting these traffickers, often at enormous personal risk. In War in the Woods, Lt. John Nores and James Swan describe in riveting detail the perils involved in eradicating marijuana in California. This is a compelling read that illuminates the dark side of criminal marijuana cultivation." General Barry McCaffrey, ret., former Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under President Bill Clinton "Eradicating illegal pot groves on our public lands is not for the faint of heart or the badge-wearing political types looking for a pat on the back. Read War in the Woods, and you will begin to truly appreciate game wardens, the rare and endangered species of brave men and women doing a thankless job they know matters." --Marshall Teague, actor ("Armaggeddon," "American Heiress," "Road House”)
"A terrifying, fascinating book. Not only is it a heart-racing, adrenaline-pumping page-turner, but it will leave you trembling with rage at how your land and your water and your resources are being stolen and despoiled by drug dealers who are perfectly willing to take your life too, if you go into the woods. Kudos to the extraordinarily courageous game wardens for their work, and to James Swan for his chronicle of their efforts." --Jameson Parker, writer and actor ("Simon and Simon")
"War in the Woods tells a fascinating if little known story about how California game wardens are involved with other federal and local policing agencies in cracking down on illegal marijuana farms in California's valuable wilderness. It makes sense to involve game wardens in such interagency teams. Few police officers have the woodsman skills and knowledge of the local terrain in order to conduct arrests in wilderness areas, but game wardens do. . . . If you like action, you'll love reading these stories. The stories are fast paced, fascinating and demonstrate just how dangerous and violent clandestine marijuana gardeners can be." --Gary Mauser, Professor Emeritus, Institute for Canadian Urban Research Studies, Simon Fraser University "War in the Woods brings to light the dangers and environmental devastation wreaked by illegal marijuana operations on public lands and puts you in the middle of the action as the 'Thin Green Line,' California's Fish and Game Wardens, fight bravely to protect our citizens and our fragile natural places." -- Jared Huffman, Chair, California Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee In nearly four decades of covering breaking news around the world, I’ve seen my share of hard men preparing to go into harm’s way. My blood started pumping when I began reading War in the Woods. The descriptions of tactical squads suiting up and checking the gear of their brother officers is the kind of action that prefaces mortal combat. The realization that these men were preparing for combat with invaders of our national forests, sometimes only a few hundred yards from unsuspecting Americans going about their daily lives, made my blood run cold. For three days in 480 B.C., 300 Spartans held off the entire Persian army at Thermopyale and became history’s most-cited example of the advantages of training, equipment and knowledge of the terrain to become a symbol of courage against overwhelming odds. Today, only 200 California Fish and Game Wardens are fighting to protect America’s public lands from drug dealers looking for their share of the estimated $38.5 billion dollar marijuana business. Today, they’re California’s Spartans, and War in the Woods tells their story--in their words." --Jim Shepherd, editor/publisher, The Outdoor Wire