UPDATED 9:26 AM PT – Thursday, July 8, 2021
The Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department announced a historic illegal marijuana bust. On Wednesday, officials said in the past month authorities seized more than 16 tons of marijuana illegally grown outside of the city. The seizures totaled over $1 billion dollars in street value.
Los Angeles county Sheriff’ Alex Villaneuva said the illegal marijuana growing industry is rapidly increasing in size.
“Los Angeles County has seen a significant proliferation of illegal outdoor marijuana growths, especially in the Antelope Valley,” he stated. “Many of the groves have been directly connected to Mexico drug trafficking organization, and Asian and Armenian organized crime groups.”
The bust came five years after California voters passed Proposition 63, which allows legal growth possession and use of marijuana with certain restrictions. According to Villanueva, however, illegal marijuana growers are a grave threat to citizens.
“Threats by armed individuals against citizens living in close proximity to illegal marijuana groves and passerby’s on public road ways near groves sites have occurred on a regular basis and are increasing in frequency,” explained the Los Angeles sheriff.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva and officials discuss the results of the largest Marijuana Eradication Operation of illegal Marijuana cultivations in the history of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
— LA County Sheriffs (@LASDHQ) July 7, 2021
Villanueva said he wanted to send a clear message to the cartels by telling them “we’re coming for you.”