Authorities recently busted a large series of pot-growing farms in the desert of Southern California. On Thursday, the Los Angeles officials announced the biggest pot seizure in their history and possibly of the entire country. They grabbed 16 tons of cannabis during the series of raids of pot farms in the surrounding desert region.
There will be a lot of crying across the country tonight.
“Sheriff Alex Villanueva showed photos of the sprawling operation at a morning news conference to discuss details of a recent 10-day operation that seized 373,000 marijuana plants and 33,480 pounds of harvested pot with an estimated street value of nearly $1.2 billion.”
The multi-agency operation targeted the Antelope Valley in northern L.A. County. That part of the county is part of the Mojave Desert. There were 205 locations served with search warrants and the police found 70 greenhouse pot-growing operations.
“Many of these grows have been directly tied to Mexican drug trafficking organizations and Asian and Armenian organized crime groups. What we want to do is send a clear message to the cartels and anyone doing illegal operations in the High Desert: your days are over, and we are coming for you.”
Even though California legalized recreational marijuana, the Black Market has thrived because of increased demand. And as more states legalize the cannabis trade, the problem will get worse unless they figure out how to regulate growers and allow them to expand their operations. I suspect that with the opioid crisis, more states will legalize medical marijuana in order to cut down on the number of opioids prescribed to patients.
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Representatives from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife joined Villanueva along with several Republican elected officials, including L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Assemblyman Tom Lackey, Lancaster Mayor Rex Parris, and U.S. Rep Mike Garcia.
Congressman Garcia recently said he had taken a helicopter tour over the area and seen “hundreds, if not thousands, of these illegal nurseries throughout our desert being manned by primarily illegal immigrants.”
“I want to be very clear that these are not mom and pop or legal operations that we are fighting,” he continued. “These are large-scale illegal operations in many cases being run by several different cartels right here in our backyard.”