- The “Marijuana Eradication Operation” resulted in the largest illegal marijuana bust in Los Angeles County history.
- 373,000 marijuana plants worth $1 billion on the street were seized in the Antelope Valley north of Los Angeles.
- More crime news here.
“What we want to do is send a clear and loud message to all the cartels and anyone doing illegal operations in the high desert,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva. “Your days here are over and we’re coming for you.”
According to the Associated Press, 373,000 marijuana plants were seized as part of a 10-day operation in the Antelope Valley north of Los Angeles last month.
The marijuana plants – more than 33,000 pounds of them – would have been worth $1.193 billion dollars on the street.
The operation also resulted in 131 arrests including 19 water theft arrests. 205 illegal grows out of the 500 seen by aerial surveillance in the area were demolished, 65 vehicles, 33 firearms and $28,000 dollars in cash were seized, and 180 animals were rescued as part of the operation.
Sheriff Villanueva also stated that the cartels which run these grows threaten residents, commit violent crimes, poison streams and groundwater with harmful pesticides, harm wildlife and plants, and steal millions of gallons of water from the area.
“Most Californians would be shocked and disappointed at the amount of water these unlicensed, illegal grows are using, especially as California suffers from a drought,” said DEA Associate Special Agent in Charge Curt Fallin. “By our calculation, the illegal grows in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties require an astounding 5.4 million gallons of water a day, every day.”
Agencies involved in the operation included over 400 personnel from multiple Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department units, deputies from the Community Partnerships Bureau, Operation Safe Street and Special Victims Bureau detectives, Lancaster and Palmdale Station deputies, agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, California National Guard, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and members from the Kern County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County and Ventura County Sheriff’s Departments.