Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

A Mexican soldier stands guard as the nation’s largest-ever marijuana seizure goes up in flames.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Such public incinerations are common practice in Mexico’s intractable war against drug cartels.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Soldiers pose in front of the burning pile. The carefully choreographed event included a flag ceremony, salutes and speeches.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Soldiers take pictures of the flaming pile of drugs. Officials said it was the equivalent of 334 million joints.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Officials believe the drugs belonged to the Sinaloa cartel -- and would have brought in nearly $200 million.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

A truck operator douses 15,000 bundles of pot with diesel fuel.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

A drum and bugle corps played as soldiers passed the marijuana bundles, one by one, onto the stage.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

National media were flown out from Mexico City to cover the event at a sprawling military base near Tijuana.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

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Times staff writer Richard Marosi reports from Tijuana that Mexican officials Wednesday burned 134 tons of marijuana seized in what authorities believe was the largest pot bust in the nation’s history.

Baja California authorities seized the marijuana Monday morning after a shootout with traffickers near Tijuana. About 15,300 bundles were hidden inside six cargo containers in a warehouse in an industrial area of the border city.

The marijuana was discovered after police intercepted a convoy of vehicles escorting a tractor-trailer that had left the warehouse, officials said.

After the shootout, 11 people were arrested. Police and soldiers, acting on information from the suspects, raided the warehouse and two homes near the coast, where smaller amounts of marijuana were found.

View Mark Boster’s photos of the pot burn in the gallery above and read Marosi’s full story here.

4 Comments

  1. October 21, 2010, 1:14 pm

    Way to take a picture of that officer when he was adjusting his face mask.

    By: ddttttt
  2. October 21, 2010, 1:15 pm

    Way to publish a picture of that officer while he was adjusting his face mask.

    By: tddss
  3. October 21, 2010, 1:51 pm

    After the burning the entire police force went to get pizzas, Jack in the Box and ice cream. During the meal they discussed what if God was so small he could fit under your fingernail.

    By: Tom
  4. October 21, 2010, 6:09 pm

    With some simple back-of-the-envelope math, that 134 tons of cannabis contains 4, 288,000 ounces. If you were to tax that pot at $15 an ounce, that seizure represents over $64 million in lost tax revenue.

    This seizure, of course, is a drop in the bucket compared to an estimated $14 billion a year marijuana trade, and any scarcity caused by it will just be recouped in higher prices from the local street gangs and drug dealers, none of which are going to be paying taxes on their illicit income.

    In the meantime, those 334 million joints represent an awful lot of smokers. Even if you assume heavy smokers would consume this dope, you are talking about a supply that would have been used by possibly 2 million people or more.

    Isn't it time we removed this income source from the black market and put it into the state treasury?

    By: Mike

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