Los Angeles County, California authorities declared their biggest cannabis bust ever worth about $1 billion in street value. This was their largest bust in county history, with over 373,000 plants and more than 33,000 pounds of harvested cannabis; however, it only represents about half of the illegal grows in the Antelope Valley. U.S. Rep. Mike Garcia made note that the raid was, “not a war on legal cannabis businesses” within the state.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva gave insight saying, “the illegal grows were run by cartels that threaten local residents, steal millions of gallons of water, poison streams, and groundwater, and harm wildlife and plants with pesticides.” He later mentioned that the illegal grow ops were a detriment to the state’s licensed cannabis operators. Villanueva noted just last year, his agency busted 150 illegal grows in the valley.
Villanueva gave a statement to Fox LA saying, “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.” Last year, the California agency seized over a ton of cannabis while their most recent bust alone amounted to over 16 tons. Alongside the arrest, police snatched 65 vehicles, including two water trucks, rescued 180 animals, and confiscated thousands of dollars in cash along with a multitude of weaponry.
Raids like this show that there is still a black market for cannabis and people are willing to take that chance to find a better price for their flower.