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Criminal Defense From A Former Prosecutor

Marijuana operation in California involves 22 agencies

The recreational use of marijuana was approved by California voters in 2016, but that does not mean that arrests for cultivating and distributing the drug have ended. On June 5, a marijuana eradication operation involving almost two dozen law enforcement agencies was conducted in the Anza Valley, which is known to be an area where marijuana is illegally grown on an industrial scale.

About 600 police officers and federal agents took part in the operation, and air cover was provided by helicopters from the California National Guard. The Riverside County Sheriff's Department reported that 140,877 marijuana plants weighing 70 tons were seized and destroyed. Law enforcement also discovered about 3,037 pounds of processed marijuana. The seized drugs would have been worth approximately $189 million on the street. In addition to the drugs, police found 10 handguns and 17 rifles when they executed 90 search warrants. Eight individuals were taken into custody.

Local residents told reporters that they welcomed the law enforcement efforts because of the damage illegal marijuana growers do to the environment. They were particularly concerned about the large amount of water that the grow operations use. Legal marijuana cultivators in California must abide by strict environmental regulations. A total of 118 marijuana growing operations were raided across an area covering 265 square miles.

When their clients are taken into custody along with several other defendants, experienced criminal defense attorneys may urge them to act quickly if they are interested in securing more lenient treatment by entering into a negotiated plea agreement. This is because prosecutors may be less willing to reduce the penalties for drug crimes once they have gathered the information and evidence they will need at trial. This may be especially true when the crimes are serious, and the penalties are severe.

Source: ABC Eyewitness News 7, Anza Valley pot bust: Riverside County Sheriff's Department investigates illegal marijuana grows, Rob McMillan, June 5, 2019

Source: News Channel 3, Agencies seize 140,000+ marijuana plants in Anza Valley, eight arrested, Sam Benson Smith, June 6, 2019

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