|Photo: LA Weekly|
|More than 5,000 plants were reportedly seized from hydroponic grow operations in the San Fernando Valley on Wednesday.|
Federal agents reportedly raided several medical marijuana operations in the San Fernando Valley on Wednesday. Agents from multiple federal agencies including the Drug Enforcement Administration, assisted by the Los Angeles Police Department, uncovered pot growing warehouses, according to spokesperson Laura Eimiller.
“Multiple search warrants were executed,” Eimiller said. “It involved multiple agencies including the FBI, DEA, LAPD and the ATF and ICE.”
One law enforcement source told Dennis Romero at LA Weekly that more than 5,000 plants were seized, along with “luxury cars” and at least $200,000 in cash. The raided locations were said to all be indoor hydroponic growing operations.
Law enforcement sources said six warehouses and residences were searched for evidence of marijuana cultivation and “other criminal activity,” reports Andrew Blankstein at the Los Angeles Times.
No arrests were made, reports Bill Applegate, Jr. at the North Hollywood-Toluca Lake Patch. The operation was part of an ongoing criminal investigation into “illicit marijuana cultivation.” Dozens of officers were reportedly involved in the operation.
The raids happened in six locations: two in North Hollywood, and one each in North Hills, Sherman Oaks, Canoga Park and Palmdale. Authorities targeted warehouses and residences.
“Thousands of plants were recovered,” Eimiller said. According to Eimiller, it’s not known if the locations are connected.
The largest number of plants were taken from a warehouse in the 16700 block of Schoenborn Street, according to City News Service. Federal agents were seen hauling plastic bags out of the building.
The raids have many residents wondering what is going on, reports Craig Clough of the North Hollywood-Toluca Lake Patch. As raids continue and there’s talk of a crackdown on the facilities, new pot shops seem to still be opening.
“I hear all the time that there are new ones opening and old ones reopening,” Asha Greenberg, the assistant city attorney who oversees marijuana enforcement, told the Los Angeles Times. “It will always be a moving target.”
Over the past couple of weeks, the city has sent letters ordering 201 marijuana dispensaries to close down, reports John Hoeffel at the Times.
The letters warn that the city could sue violators, assess financial penalties and padlock the property. These are currently unlicensed shops that did not apply to participate in a city lottery which will select 100 shops to remain open, while closing all others.
The lottery, for which 228 dispensaries have applied, has yet to be scheduled.