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Massive subterranean cannabis farm found in California

May 25, 2022 | Media Partners, The GrowthOp

This post is presented by our media partner The Growth Op
View the original article here.

Eleven defendants charged for conspiring in massive underground marijuana grow

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The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office is pursuing felony conspiracy charges in connection with a massive subterranean cannabis farm that has been operating for years.

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According to Victorville Daily Press, the office plans to prosecute 11 defendants associated with the huge, illegal grow in a small High Desert town called Newberry Springs. All combined, the charges against different defendants revolve around felony cultivation of cannabis, violating environmental law and misdemeanour possession of weed for sale.

It is legal in California for individuals 21 and older to grow as many as six plants for personal use. Information from Shouse California Law Group notes, however, that “cultivation laws call for felony penalties in certain situations.”

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These include when the six-plant limit has been exceeded and, among other things, people have a serious violent felony on their record or have violated certain environmental laws in their cultivation activities.

Felony penalties are punishable by imprisonment in county jail for up to three years, and/or a fine of up to $12,800, the law firm reports.

The accused range in age from 27 to 59.

As for the illegal grow, it reportedly measures 14,000 sq. ft. The industrial-sized subterranean illegal marijuana grow includes a processing warehouse and “other properties used in conjunction with the selling, manufacturing and distribution of cannabis,” Victorville Daily Press reports.

The case dates back to August 2020, when a search warrant was executed on an illegal grow, notes a statement on Facebook from the district attorney’s office.

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“Deputies observed a single-story residence on the property, and located eight greenhouses, over 2,000 live cannabis plants and over 100 pounds of processed marijuana,” the post reads.

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The property was sold that November, but on Mar. 3, 2022, deputies from San Bernardino County Sheriffs Marijuana Enforcement Team were again on the scene to serve a search warrant.

Upon searching a red Conex box, a type of cargo container, deputies “discovered the floor opened and were able to descend into underground bunker.” The bunker, which measured about 70 metres by 18 metres, “was constructed with over 30 Conex boxes” and was located almost five metres below the ground.

More than 6,000 cannabis plants were seized at the time.

“A cultivation this size could produce over (1,361 kilograms) of processed marijuana, with black market prices that amount of marijuana is valued anywhere between ($5.9 million) and ($11.5 million),” the statement notes.

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As for the effect on the environment, the grow is estimated as using 6,000 gallons (22,712 litres) of water daily.

Police also discovered processed marijuana in the residence and a commercial lease agreement in his name for a commercial building. That was where officers later found numerous items used for cannabis cultivation and almost 91 kilograms of weed products.

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“You’re putting unfair competition on an industry that’s trying to be regulated,” local District Attorney Jason Anderson said of the burgeoning legal-weed industry, per Victorville Daily Press.

The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Office reported this weed that between May 9 and May 22, investigators with its Marijuana Enforcement Team and sheriff’s deputies served 41 search warrants at various locations in the local area.

Over those two weeks, investigators seized 58,979 cannabis plants, 2,994 kilograms of processed marijuana, 17 guns, two grams of concentrated marijuana and more than $43,136 in cash. Additionally, investigators eradicated 244 greenhouses and 15 indoor operations at these locations.

San Bernardino County has a law prohibiting commercial cannabis activity, which includes growing marijuana plants outdoors.
The sheriff didn’t specify if the “the bunker case” is believed to be one part of a broader operation or the only farm operated by the suspects named Monday, per Victorville Daily Press.

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