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California Volunteer Marijuana Eradicator Falls to His Death

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #801)

A volunteer for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife fell out of a helicopter and died while authorities were conducting a marijuana eradication effort in Tulare County Thursday. Shane Krogen becomes the 29th person to die in US domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Krogen was supervising the High Sierra Volunteer Trail Crew and supporting Operation PRISTINE in a remote part of Sequoia National Forest when he died. Operation PRISTINE's remit is "to eradicate and reclamate the most polluted illegal marijuana grow sites in California."

"Shane's dedication to California's natural resources was extraordinary," state Department of Fish and Wildlife Assistant Chief John Baker said in a statement. "He and his crew have worked tirelessly for several years to maintain access to the high Sierra for all Californians."

The incident remains under investigation.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


mexweeds (not verified)

I'm suspicious of claims that cannabis growers pollute the forest, but in any case eradicating the plants is mere vandalism masquerading as punishment of perpetrators who had invested their time in growing.  Need to be more studies of whether the claims of damage to the forest are true.  Cannabis is identified as a good precursor crop for tree-planting (rieferforestation).  Sorry about loss of life but at least no one has been found to have deliberately caused the accident, growers should be innocent till proven guilty.

Sat, 09/14/2013 - 6:09pm Permalink
kickback (not verified)

Ever heard of a seat belt ? Safety precautions ? Instructions on how not to fall out of an open helicopter door ? Appears to me that nature exacted some revenge on a careless and reckless individual . 

Tue, 09/17/2013 - 12:23am Permalink
sicntired (not verified)

I bet his family is just devastated but so are we when our plants get ripped off. What is fish and game doing in the dirty drug game? Isn't there enough for them to do without flying around looking for drug grows? If there's a legit problem for fish and game they'll hear about it. Looking in wilderness areas for pot grows is not a fish and game problem except in America, where the anti drug stupidity is rampant to the point that people are willing to volunteer to be narcs. Pathetic.

Thu, 09/19/2013 - 9:57am Permalink
Carl Darby (not verified)

So it is true. You can die if you are too high and involved with marijuana.

Thu, 09/19/2013 - 3:41pm Permalink
rmantoo (not verified)

I hate the (il)legal status of marijuana, but the grows they're talking about are HUGE and absolutely do hurt the land and forests/etc.

We're talking 1000s and 1000s of plants, planted by guys dropped off, primarily by mexican cartels, and they divert water sources and use extremely stong pesticides and fertilizers, the runnoff from which leave toxins in the area, killing fish, plants and wildlife.

We're not talking about a normal backyard grow- or even a small time commercial grow.  The damage, trash, and pollutants left behind after these huge grows is extreme.


I'm all for legalizing herb- both the consumption, and the production, but just like many legal businesses pollute our planet and need to go, these unregulated, huge commercial grows need to be reined in, too.

Thu, 09/19/2013 - 6:27pm Permalink
CoolTex (not verified)

Are those cops selling the pot they haul off? I have a sneaky suspicion that a good chunk escapes getting burned...

Sun, 09/22/2013 - 3:50pm Permalink
CoolTex (not verified)

How much hemp fiber would all of that confiscated pot make? Might be a way to make up for some of the damages. Might work for legal pot too! Cal and Co need a place to dispose of pot stems so it can be used...

Sun, 09/22/2013 - 3:52pm Permalink
Shane's Friend (not verified)

Shane was doing what he loved - being in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and making them accessible to others.  Unfortunately, accidents occur all the time and we lost one of our dearest friends.  Do I agree with eradication - no - but he was cleaning up the crap left in the mountains from illegal grows.  I would like to see marijuana legalized but until that happens, cleanup crews will need to go into the forest and remove any rat poisonings, etc. left by these types of grows.  Legalize it!  However, even our local government (Fresno) is trying to continue to limit our constitutional rights to medical marijuana cultivation and will continue to further the black market, including polluting our beautiful mountains.  


Shane didn't just clean up the Sierras from garbage left behind by the marijuana grows but he has gotten over 800 volunteers over the years to go up into the Sierras and make trails accessible to all.  He was a good man and mentor and leader and is sorely missed by a lot of people.  Accidents happen all the time but I won't remember him for how he died but for how he lived and what he has meant to my family.  

Sat, 09/28/2013 - 7:00pm Permalink

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