“This law enforcement work is necessary due to the large number of illegal cannabis operators in our state that threaten our environment, community safety, and the legal market. We appreciate the investigative work that is being done and thank the officers who put themselves in harm’s way while serving these types of warrants.” – CSLEA President Alan Barcelona
SUN VALLEY – On October 18 -19, 2022 19, state and local law enforcement officers took actions to shut down unlicensed indoor cultivation operations in large, industrial warehouses located in the San Fernando Valley.
Led by the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC), California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and Governor’s Office of Emergency Services the Unified Cannabis Enforcement Taskforce (UCETF) operation included the service of 13 search warrants on unlicensed indoor cultivation operations in the Sun Valley suburb, outside of Los Angeles.
Officers eradicated 7,503 plants and more than 936 pounds of processed cannabis flower, worth an estimated retail value of close to $8 million. Using air monitors, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) detected high levels of banned, toxic chemicals at some of the sites.
“Criminal cannabis operators, like those we enforced against in this operation, jeopardize the health of their workers by using toxic chemicals to help fertilize indoor cultivations that undercut the legal market and present safety risks to consumers,” said DCC Director Nicole Elliott.
Samples taken from unlabeled chemicals and extracted distillate will be tested. Laboratory results will be provided for use in building criminal cases. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power disconnected power at all locations, finding safety code violations at all 13 sites.
“This operation is another important step in protecting our communities. California is committed to working across all levels of government to take aggressive action against bad actors and criminal organizations,” said Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci, Director of Cal OES and the Governor’s Homeland Security Advisor.
Criminal investigations are ongoing and once completed, the cases will be submitted to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. In addition, cases for civil penalties may be submitted to the California Attorney General’s Office and the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, as appropriate.
Agencies participating in this operation included:
- Department of Cannabis Control, Law Enforcement Division
- Department of Cannabis Control, Compliance Division
- California Department of Fish and Wildlife
- California Department of Industrial Relations
- California Department of Insurance
- California Department of Tax and Fee Administration
- California Department of Toxic Substances Control
- Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
- Los Angeles Police Department, Foothill Division