Cactus Cops

They need them in Phoenix. <a href=";entry_id=1544" title="" onmouseover="window.status=’’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">The newspaper</a> tells you what they do.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;">Two people with a truck can uproot a saguaro in 20 minutes and sell it for $55 to $75 a foot to a homeowner who thinks planting a cactus shows a love of the desert. These criminals enrich themselves at the expense of our natural environment.<br />
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<i>There ought to be a law.</i><br />
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There is. Poaching a protected native plant is a misdemeanor that can carry a fine of up to $1,500. But so many people disregarded native-plant protections that back in the 1980s, the state Department of Agriculture hired seven law-enforcement officers and trained them to track down cactus thieves and monitor sales in nurseries and other places.<br />
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<i>Those are the cactus cops?</i><br />
<br />
Right. And they caught 90 to 100 cactus thieves per year for a while.<br />
<br />
<i>That’s great!</i><br />
<br />
Sure, but it is yesterday’s news. Today, there are only two cactus cops in the state, and they managed to nail only about 20 cactus thieves in 2006.<br /></div><br />Now you know. Are you interested?<br /><br />

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