Last year I reported on how Mexican drug cartels have invaded Washington’s woods to grow marijuana, and now Austin Jenkins has the story about the “collision of outdoor recreation and gang culture” at some Eastside fishin’ holes.
(WDFW) Officer Chad McGary pulls his state-issue pick-up into a public boat ramp. We’re near Potholes Reservoir in Grant County in Central Washington.
“I have three kids myself and I don’t come down here unless I’m armed and I know where I’m going to be going fishing.,” McGary says.
This fishing spot is gang turf.
“Every single sign that we have here is tagged up.”
So are the public bathrooms, even the large rocks and boulders. Everywhere you look there’s gang graffiti on top of gang graffiti – giant spray painted letters in blue. Red for Norteno. Blue for Soreno. These are the main rival gangs around here.
“And then crossed out in red saying blue came in and tagged it up and red says ‘no this is our area, not your area.'”
The story talks about how McGary, who came over to WDFW from a local police department and who was held at gunpoint and knifepoint by illegal aliens during a fishing license check last summer, “thought he was signing on to chase poachers. And he does. But he can’t escape the gangs.”
This is not to say that you’ll run into pot plantations wandering around the woods or gangbangers at every fishing access point. Far from it. But it again details how this ain’t 1955 anymore.
Jenkins’ radio report is available as text on KPLU’s Web site.