Busted!

Drug dealers are planting pot farms all over our national parks, and the Park Service is struggling to root them out. TIME goes on a raid

A blue-gray dawn tickles the tops of the ponderosa pines at the Sugar Pine Recreation Area in California's Tahoe National Forest. Campers slumber in lakeside tents; bikers have yet to hit the trails. But all is not quiet on this cool July morning. A platoon of camouflaged figures equipped with rifles, pistols and bulletproof vests creep through manzanita brush with a police dog. Their objective: a marijuana plantation a few hundred yards from a well-traveled tourist area.

As the Forest Service rangers stealthily approach, an unsuspecting Mexican laborer named Pedro Villa Garcia, 51, stands in a clearing. All around him the...

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