It was reported by the office of California Governor Gavin Newsom that the Unified Enforcement Task Force destroyed thousands of cannabis plants and harvested flower during a raid on illicit cannabis earlier this month in Tuolumne County.
Authorities reported that on October 4th, members of the Department of Cannabis Control’s Law Enforcement Division and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife launched an operation in the unincorporated town of Jupiter to locate unauthorized outdoor grow facilities.
According to a news statement issued on Thursday, authorities executed nine search warrants and destroyed 11,260 illicit plants and around 5,237 pounds of processed cannabis flower with an estimated retail value of $15 million.
To curb the spread of illicit cannabis and support the growth of the legal market, California is moving swiftly, Newsom said in a news release. Criminal organizations that are undermining California’s legal cannabis industry will be stymied if we are successful in closing down unlawful grow facilities and punishing those responsible for them severely.
The state, via the establishment of the task force in June by the governor, is making an effort to deal with illicit cannabis activities, particularly those sponsored by “transnational criminal groups,” as the announcement notes.
According to CDFW Director Charlton Bonham, grow operations like the ones disrupted in the Jupiter operation might have a harmful effect on local ecosystems.
When it comes to the state’s fish and animals, “these illicit grows may be damaging to their environments,” Bonham said. “Sediment that would harm Eagle Creek with the next rain” and “hazardous materials that may be fatal to nearby species” are only two examples of the “many environmental infractions” associated with this activity.