Congressman: Illegal Antelope Valley Pot Grows Being Run By International Drug Cartels

KCAL9 CBS Los Angeles reports

Illegal pot growing operations in the Antelope Valley are now an international cartel issue, according to Congressman Mike Garcia.

“I want to be very clear that these are not mom and pop or legal operations that we are fighting,” he said Tuesday. “These are large-scale illegal operations in many cases being run by several different cartels right here in our backyard.”

Garcia said he has surveyed areas by helicopter around the Antelope Valley with Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva. During a recent 10-day operation, Villanueva said his deputies seized enough illegally grown marijuana to fill two Sea World-sized whale tanks.

As for the grow operations, Garcia said they have started taking over entire neighborhoods and said they were spreading by the day.

“I saw hundreds, if not thousands, of these illegal nurseries throughout our desert being manned by primarily illegal immigrants,” Garcia said.

“Over 90% of the folks working these farms are indentured servants of some form. They’re stealing our water, in many cases they’re squatting on our land.”

Villanueva said California’s relatively lenient laws and penalties were making the situation worse.

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