Authorities in Southern California have seized more than a billion’s worth of marijuana in the largest sting conducted by the department. 

According to reports by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the operation began on June 8 and took 10 days to complete. Officials seized more than 16 tons of marijuana, 65 vehicles, 180 animals and $28,000 during the sting operation. 

Officials have also conducted 22 felony arrests, 109 misdemeanor arrests and 19 arrests from water theft, as reported by CBS News. 

International Cartels

Los Angeles County officials believe the international cartels could be operating marijuana farms. 

California has legalized the recreational use of marijuana in 2018. However, authorities have reported a rise in cases in which crops were planted illegally. In 2021 alone, detectives from the narcotics bureau identified 500 illegal marijuana farms with at least 15 greenhouses each. 

“What we want to do is send a clear and loud message to the cartels and anyone doing an illegal operation in the high desert: Your days are over and we’re coming for you,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in a press conference.