The culmination of a four-year investigation, DOJ officials said that the grow houses were all purchased with money sent directly from the Fujian Province in China, with the explicit purpose of farming marijuana to distribute outside of California. After the dust settled from the two-day sweep, authorities reported the seizure of 61,050 marijuana plants, 440 pounds of ready-to-sell bud, and about $100,000 cash. The homes used for the illicit trafficking operation, valued at more than $100 million, now belong to the U.S. government and will eventually be sold at public auction.
“This criminal organization has put a tremendous amount of equity into these homes through these wire transfers coming in from China and elsewhere,” Scott said in an interview with the Associated Press. While calling in over 500 federal agents to raid cannabis grows is still a debatable use of taxpayer funds, the DOJ focus on illicit black market sales is encouraging, as it potentially signals a lack of interest in prosecuting California’s regulated cannabis industry.
Despite the record-breaking seizure statistics, federal authorities reported zero arrests during the Sacramento raids. Html” target=” blank”>told the Sacramento Bee that people found inside of the grow homes during the raids were working as indentured servants and not as willing criminal operators. DOJ officials and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento said that they will continue to pursue criminal charges against the trafficking syndicate, as well as the California real estate agents who they allege knowingly facilitated the criminal operation.