The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office claimed to have made the “largest illicit marijuana raid in Bay Area history” after executing search warrants throughout the East Bay. On Wednesday, they expect to discover around 100,000 marijuana plants.
“This organized and sophisticated network of individuals were making tens of millions of dollars in profit and avoiding California Marijuana Regulations,” the sheriff’s office said per KRON4.
Officials noted that the bust involved discovering millions of dollars worth of infrastructure, equipment, lights, generators, and supplies needed to assist the growth. On Thursday, authorities were seen cutting down the plans using gas-powered trimmers in order to save time.
Bust Operations Came After 18 Months of Investigation
Sheriff’s spokesperson Sgt. Ray Kelly told Newsweek (via MSN) that the seizure of the plants and cash on Wednesday occurred after an 18-month investigation.
After receiving a tip about an illicit marijuana growing enterprise, narcotics detectives from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation.
Kelly also told Newsweek that on Wednesday, investigators served search warrants at 18 separate locations.
While the original Facebook post said that “over 100,000 plants” had been confiscated, Kelly told Newsweek that the amount might be “up to half a million.” While recreational marijuana use and consumption are legal in California, people can only cultivate up to six plants per household.
Suspects Facing Money Laundering, Tax Evasion Among Others
KPIX (per CBS San Francisco) toured one of San Leandro’s warehouse grow operations. Illegal marijuana facilities, according to Kelly, is akin to modern-day bootlegging.
On Thursday, Kelly told KPIX that all of the money would go directly into their wallets. He went on to say that there is a legitimate method to accomplish this. He added that evaders should return the money to Californians.
While seven people were arrested in the operation on Wednesday, deputies said additional arrests are expected, with suspects facing accusations of money laundering, tax evasion, and running illicit marijuana grow.
RELATED ARTICLE: A Loose Dose of Laughing Gas Can Relieve Symptoms of Depression!