Cartel-backed pot grows linked to human trafficking, inhumane working conditions

Article subtitle: 
Thousands of unpermitted grows in Northern California and Southern Oregon, some tied to organized crime, are straining resources for local sheriffs.
Article author: 
Beth Warren
Article publisher: 
Article date: 
Sunday, June 18, 2023
Article category: 
Oregon Issues
Article Body: 

TRINITY COUNTY, Calif. — If you buy weed illegally, you unwittingly could be supporting Mexican cartels and other criminal syndicates that lure workers to farms in Northern California and Southern Oregon, where they often suffer inhumane conditions and sometimes sexual abuse. Or worse.

Some disappear, presumed murdered, their bodies discarded within the area's vast wilderness.

Others are held against their will. Sometimes, workers' passports, visas or driver's licenses and cell phones are locked away until they finish the harvest season. And cultivators often threaten to harm the workers or the workers' families if they run off or talk to police, said Trinity County Sheriff Tim Saxon.

"They're basically being held prisoner," he said. . . .