As bad for our legalization cause as they may be, massive illegal grow operations are still incredibly interesting and even more fun to read about when they get busted. Well about a week ago Oakland, California had one of its biggest days for cannabusts in the history of the city. Within a fairly short amount of time Oakland Police Departments busted 10 different illegal grow houses that all have ties to the Mexican drug cartel. This even included one house that was directly across the street from an elementary school. The incredible quantities of cannabis didn’t take long to add up to some crazy amounts of potential cash. In fact, the estimated street value of the cannabis was over $4 million, and that’s without accounting for any of the very expensive growing equipment some of these places were utilizing.
Apparently the cartel was operating the grow houses all the way from Mexico by paying Mexican nationals a small wage and free housing. There were 15 arrests made in the 10 busts. The police suspected there might have been grow houses in the area, but they were eventually helped out by some anonymous tips from the community. One thing that really set this bust apart from cannabusts of the past is that the police used a drone to spy on the grow houses and to keep a sight on people trying to flee. They also utilized flash grenades, but luckily no one was injured. It is still sad to hear that these people are going to have their lives ruined because of growing cannabis, but it is a relief that nothing escalated. There have been lots of previous busts involving the cartel in which illegal weapons are found as well.
Officials found cannabis plants growing in all stages of development, including dried and ready for distribution. In fact, one of the houses had 55 separate garbage bags with a pound of premium cannabis in each. The houses had a large range of how much cannabis they had and how complicated the grow systems were. However, they were all owned by the Mexican cartel. While cannabis might be a victimless drug, these massive cartel operations are certainly not victimless. That being said, the cartel will always continue to follow the money. I doubt we’ll ever be able to really stomp them out of the cannabis industry until legalization has reached every state.