Deputies seized 500,000 untaxed marijuana plants and $10 million in Northern California, reports Cox Media Group. The bust followed an 18-month investigation, according to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department.
The largest bust ever of an untaxed growing operation in the Bay Area also nabbed six tons of processed Cannabis, reports KTVU.
Kelly said the operation involved more than a dozen locations in the East Bay area. Raids were conducted in Oakland, San Leandro, Hayward and Castro Valley
More Than A Dozen Locations
“So many plants, we have to use gas-powered hedge trimmers,” the sheriff’s office tweeted on Thursday.
Kelly said the untaxed operation housed 500,000 square feet of commercial real estate. The cost of renting such space would total millions dollars per month, added the sheriff’s office.
“Some of the locations had corporate style furniture, break rooms,” Kelly told KTVU. “They had wine, refrigerators with thousand-dollar bottles of wine that they would just sip on. Televisions, vending machines, break rooms.”
Kelly said the average size of each location was as much as 70,000 square feet.
Deputies also raided a warehouse in San Leandro Thursday morning, the East Bay Times reports. They seized 10,000 high-grade untaxed Cannabis plants, according to Kelly. Deputies made no arrests at the site, the newspaper reported.
Untaxed Growing: ‘Massive Operation’
It took 12 tractor-trailers to transport the seized untaxed Cannabis to a Central Valley site for destruction, the Times reports. Kelly added that total amount of plants and materials seized weighed 37.6 tons.
“This is an organization operating outside the law and the protocols of governance of marijuana in California, unsanctioned and making millions in profits,” Kelly said. “What’s crazy about this is had they applied for proper permits and fees and paid all their licenses and tax fees, we wouldn’t be here.
“This is one of the largest grows we’ve ever seen in recent memory. It’s a massive operation.”