Flying High: The Rise Of These Chinese-Backed ILLEGAL Empires Across America Are 'Popping' Up Like Fireworks

By Javier Sanchez | Tuesday, 05 March 2024 09:20 PM
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In a nationwide trend, law enforcement agencies from Maine to California have reported a surge in illicit marijuana operations, allegedly run by wealthy Chinese investors and, in some cases, suspected Communist party officials.

These operations, often in collaboration with Asian criminal organizations, are generating significant profits, some of which are traced back to China, while others are reinvested in U.S. real estate, creating a long-term cash flow.

A recent operation in Los Angeles exemplifies this trend. On Friday, the LA County Sheriff’s Department raided three marijuana grow warehouses, identified as Chinese-operated-and-controlled. An undercover narcotics detective leading the operation noted a significant increase in Chinese, Asian-owned, and Asian-operated marijuana cultivation sites in L.A. County since 2021. He estimated that the raided sites could generate several million dollars in profits, despite the minor criminal penalties associated with such operations.

The warehouses, protected by reinforced steel doors, housed around 4,000 marijuana plants each, growing under bright lights. The plants varied in age and height, allowing for multiple harvests throughout the year. The high THC content of 27% would command a premium price on the street, especially in large East Coast cities. The detective noted that millions of dollars a month were traced from these operations to overseas locations.

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The state Bureau of Cannabis Control has reported that large Chinese grow operations are dominating California, from suburban Riverside and San Bernardino Counties to homes in the Bay Area, and up to the Emerald Triangle near the Oregon border, a major hub of state cannabis production.

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Siskiyou County Sheriff Jeremiah LaRue told Fox News about the tremendous explosion of Chinese individuals buying land and growing illegal marijuana. He highlighted the scale of the problem, with thousands of illegal grows within the community, leading to increased violence. Arial images showed the proliferation of marijuana cultivation in Siskiyou County since 2017, with up to 8,000 grow houses now dotting the rural landscape.

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LaRue noted that the profitability of these operations, coupled with minimal consequences, has fueled their growth. In some cases, the money is sent directly back to China. The labor force for these operations is largely trafficked, with around 75% or more being undocumented individuals.

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A federal official, who requested anonymity, described the Chinese operations as "highly sophisticated, multi-layer operations and very hard to crack." The official noted that the laborers were trafficked and uncooperative, and the person on the deed was often a figurehead, making the cases unappealing for prosecution. The misdemeanor charge and $500 fine for growing marijuana without a license were minor deterrents, as the owners would simply sell the property and move on.

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Chinese operations are not limited to California. In Oklahoma, the state Bureau of Narcotics has estimated 2,000 marijuana farms with a Chinese connection. Last Thursday, the bureau shut down a massive grow, seizing 82,979 plants and 1,955 pounds of processed marijuana, with a street value of $300 million. Several Asian warehouse workers were detained, and a 36-year-old Chinese woman was arrested for her alleged involvement in the operation.

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The Department of Homeland Security has also identified 270 grow operations in Maine connected to the Chinese. The agency has initiated a "national intelligence-gathering initiative" to assess Chinese involvement, asking local law enforcement to alert the department if they've encountered Asian and Chinese trans-national criminal organizations in their investigations.

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Last week, 50 members of Congress requested a Justice Department briefing on illegal marijuana farms linked to Chinese nationals, citing the DHS effort. The lawmakers wrote, "There is substantial evidence implicating the [Chinese Communist Party] in directly supporting illicit marijuana grow operations across the United States." They noted that these operations generated an estimated $4.37 billion in revenue, far outpacing the $158 million from the state’s legal marijuana market last year.

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Rep. Jay Obernolte, R-Calif., one of the lawmakers who signed the letter, told Fox News, "We know that this money is being funneled back to China, so the Chinese are using this as a moneymaking operation and also as an operation to destabilize life in the United States. The wide-open southern border is catalyzing this problem because the cartels are trafficking people across the border, and they're establishing these camps and they lock them in. It's a human catastrophe for everybody."

He added, "Recently we've become concerned about some findings that the Chinese Communist Party is behind this newest wave of illegal grows. That's certainly happened. In my district, we've had some identified activity that's tied to the CCP, and so, that's why we are asking the DOJ to share with us the information that it's gathered, and to give us a briefing on what it is doing and what can be done to try and rectify this problem."

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