A few days before Christmas, a joint law enforcement task force found nearly 9,000 pounds of cannabis worth almost $15 million during a raid in a suburban neighborhood in Antioch, Calif.
The California Department of Cannabis Control believes that the four houses searched in the bedroom community 45 minutes outside San Francisco were linked to China.
Mexican cartels have a long history of importing, growing and redistributing illicit cannabis in the United States. But Chinese investors, owners and workers have emerged in recent years as a new source of funding and labor for illegal marijuana production.
What is known — from interviews with state law enforcement officials, experts on the international drug trade, economists and lawmakers — is that the number of farms funded by sources traceable back to Chinese investors or owners has skyrocketed. Chinese owners and workers have become a larger presence at illegal grows in Oklahoma, California and Oregon, they say.
In Oklahoma, close to 3,000 of the state’s nearly 7,000 licensed marijuana farms have been flagged for suspicious activity by law enforcement over the last year. Those operations are now being investigated for obtaining their licenses fraudulently and/or for selling into the illicit market, according to Mark Woodward, spokesperson for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics.
One thought on “The growing Chinese investment in illegal American weed”