JOHN NORES JR.,
A California native, John grew up in a small town in rural Santa
Clara County. The eldest of four, he and his brothers and sister
(the wolf pack as their mom coined them) developed a love for nature
and the outdoors at an early age. He initially began college with
the goal of becoming a civil engineer but during winter break of his
first semester, he fortuitously met a fish and game warden in the
back country of Henry Coe State Park on a back-packing trip and was
instantly inspired to become one himself.
Inspiration led to a certainty of purpose and as soon as he got back
to school, he changed his major to Criminal Justice and began
pursuing a career as a fish and game warden for the state of
John has a Master of Science degree from San Jose State University
in Criminal Justice Administration (1998), a Bachelor of Science
Degree (1990) from San Jose State University in that same discipline
and was inducted into SJSU’s Justice Studies Alumni Hall of Fame in
Hard work and diligence led John to a diverse career he held for
over 28 years. Beginning in 1992, he was hired as a warden for the
California Department of Fish and Wildlife and retired in December
of 2018 as a special operations lieutenant working directly at the
state level, co-developing and leading his agency’s first elite
tactical unit the Marijuana Enforcement Team (MET) and developed the
CDFW’s first sniper unit (Delta Team) aimed at combating the most
dangerous and environmentally damaging criminals working within
California and throughout the nation.
Hidden War: How Special Operations Game Wardens Are Reclaiming
America's Wildlands from the Drug Cartels
This isn’t a book about a conflict in a faraway country; it's a
While debates about border
security continue to rage, and with stories about legal and illegal
marijuana in the news daily, Hidden
War forces an
astonishing dose of reality into the public
game warden Lt. John Nores, Jr., now retired, has been at the
forefront of an under-reported battle against thousands of Mexican
drug cartel members who grow toxic marijuana on US soil, frequently
on public lands, and sometimes remarkably close to population
centers. Who would guess that this struggle is even going on, or
that game wardens are on the front lines?
Not only does black market marijuana cultivation undermine
legitimate growers, but it endangers lives. The cartels, armed and
ready to defend their cash crop, pose a huge threat to hikers,
hunters, bikers, bird watchers, and everyone else who enjoy public
lands and wild places. Further, trespass marijuana growers divert
waterways and use banned chemicals that render the plants toxic. And
even after these criminals are long gone, they leave behind an
environmental disaster that may never be fixed.
It's estimated that black market sales of marijuana comprise up to
90% of all weed sales annually. California is at the hub of this
problem, and the effects reverberate across the US.
This is John Nores' personal account of his time leading the elite
California Special Operations Marijuana Enforcement Team (MET).
Hidden War brings to life the firsthand story of how America’s
unsung heroes are fighting to keep our wild lands safe.