Deputies seized $10 million of marijuana at a licensed cultivation operation in Northern California, citing a misunderstanding of Calaveras County marijuana laws for the weekend bust.
Thirty-five workers were arrested during the raid at an abandoned airport outside of San Andreas, California. Some of the workers were from Honduras, El Salvador and Mexico, and they said they were not in the United States legally, according to the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office. Others taken into custody were from Bulgaria, Iceland, Florida, Colorado and Ohio.
Sheriff Rick DiBasilio acknowledged the owners possessed a cultivation permit but said the enforcement action was taken because the business was involved in other activities aside from simply growing cannabis.
“They paid their $5,000 fee, but again (the owners) are not reading the ordinance,” DiBasilio told KCRA. “The ordinance is very specific: You are allowed to grow – that’s it. It has nothing to do with processing, manufacturing, testing, anything.”
The people who were arrested in the Calaveras County raid face such charges as conspiracy to cultivate, transport and process marijuana and possession of cannabis for sale. Authorities said some involved in the grow also had outstanding warrants.
They also said more charges could be added, according to MyMotherLode.com.
Authorities said they began their investigation about a month ago when citizens reported auto traffic going in and out of the airport. Deputies said they discovered a high-tech marijuana processing operation when they arrived at the airport last Thursday, KCRA reported.
The confiscated marijuana plants, which were estimated at 2 1/2 tons, will be eradicated, deputies said.