Authorities in Southern California have seized more than 16 tons of marijuana in the Antelope Valley,worth an estimated $1.19 billion,during a 10 days operation which began on June 8, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials said Wednesday. 22 felony arrests, 109 misdemeanor arrests, and 19 arrests from water theft enforcement teams were made, according authorities. Nearly 375,000 marijuana plants and 33,480 pounds of harvested marijuana were seized, along with 65 vehicles, 180 animals and $28,000. Officials believe international cartels are behind the illegal large-scale marijuana farms. California legalized the recreational use of marijuana in 2018 but illegal grows of the crop have been on the rise in the state. The cartel members threaten residents and steal millions of gallons of water amid a severe drought.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva had a clear message to persons doing illegal operations on this matter: „We’re coming for you,” “This illegal activity is impacting the quality of life for residents and businesses and if left unaddressed will have long lasting and devastating affects in the region,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said. Prosecutors will accomplish their duty now. The problem of illegal drugs has grown tremendously during the coronavirus pandemic.