Lead image via
California’s rash of black market raids continued late last week in Riverside County, California. There, sheriffs served 56 search warrants for suspected grow sites, eventually confiscating some 94,000 pounds of marijuana, 71 guns, and a fully operational hash oil laboratory.
According to concurrent reports from the Desert Sun, ABC, and a number of local networks, Riverside sheriffs began their Thursday morning raids in Perris, California — 70 miles southeast of Los Angeles — and continued to serve search warrants across the area for the rest of the day.
"The mission of this operation was to combat the ongoing problem of illegal marijuana cultivation sites throughout Riverside County," Deputy Robyn Flores, a sheriff's spokeswoman, said in a news release on Friday. "The emphasis of this operation was placed on the illegal cultivation sites."
And while initial reports said that authorities had confiscated some 15 tons of pot, by Thursday’s end, Riverside sheriffs had seized 47 tons of cannabis, more than five dozen firearms, and the aforementioned entire hash lab. In addition to the unlicensed pot and manufacturing equipment, Riverside law enforcement made 49 arrests during the raids.
Current preliminary stats: 32 search warrants served at illegal grows, 1 BHO lab, 21 guns, 5.9 tons #marijuana, 10 arrest. We have no additional releasable information at this time. #weedbegone #marijuana #420nomore #illegalgrows #sheriff #riversidecounty #riversidesheriff https://t.co/YolYIkH5uP pic.twitter.com/E2qZBx4kP7— Riverside County Sheriff's Dept (@RSO) July 18, 2019
In the press release, Riverside authorities said that “licensed businesses with permits to grow marijuana legally for commercial purposes were not affected,” and made sure to note the potentially dangerous chemical pesticides and environmental negligence that runs rampant in underground grow operations.
Last month, Riverside Sheriffs executed a similar black market takedown in Anza, California that netted more than 140,000 pounds of cannabis, but lead to only eight arrests.
On the Perris Sheriffs Station’s Facebook page, local authorities emphasized the black market’s ties to murder, and then promised more raids in the near future.
“Several violent crimes to include robbery, assault with deadly weapons, and homicides (that's right, HOMICIDES) have occurred this year that were connected to illegal marijuana cultivation,” the Facebook post reads. “We listened to our community, and as a result, Sheriff Bianco authorized the massive operation that began this morning in the Perris Station's jurisdiction. Being that this operation was such a success, there will be more!”
Follow Zach Harris on Twitter