The L.A. County Sheriff’s Dept. confiscated more than 33,000 pounds of illegal cannabis from cartel-run farms, in what they are calling the largest seizure in county history.
The multiple-agency operation took began on June 6, in unincorporated areas of Lancaster and the Antelope Valley, with the 372,000 cannabis plants estimated to be worth $1.19 billion as they served more than 200 search warrants, leading to 131 arrests.
“This became the largest operation in the history of the L.A. County Sheriff’s,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Wednesday. “It was developed to put an end to the hundreds of illegal marijuana cultivations that are occurring in the Antelope Valley.”
More than 400 personnel were involved in the bust, including deputies from Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Kern and L.A. Sheriff’s departments, agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the California National Guard.
Sheriff Villanueva said that neighborhood residents provided months worth of tips and complaints about the marijuana farms, with water being stolen from local vegetable farmers.
“What we want to do is send a clear and loud message to the cartels and anyone doing illegal operations in the high desert,” Villanueva said. “Your days are over and we’re coming for you.”
The first day of the operation led law enforcement to the largest of the operations, with the farm having 74 greenhouses full of cartel-grown marijuana. The greenhouses were bulldozed with suspects attempting to run from the scene or surrendering without resistance.
What began as water theft, has exploded to become the infiltration of organized crime groups i the Antelope Valley,” L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said.
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