In a press launch, the MET launched knowledge in regards to the operation’s many successes. “Since August 26, 2022, MET investigators have served 127 search warrants at unlawful cultivation places, arresting 103 suspects,” the MET acknowledged. “On account of the search warrants, investigators have seized 158,906 marijuana vegetation, 29,897 kilos of processed marijuana, 30 firearms, 28,259 grams (62.3 kilos) of concentrated marijuana, 5,443 grams (11.9 kilos) of Psilocybin mushrooms, and seized roughly $1,643,688.00 in illicit proceeds. Investigators additionally eradicated 1,188 greenhouses discovered at these places, and mitigated six electrical bypasses and 7 Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) extraction labs.”
All the investigations discovered offenders in violation of the California Medical and Grownup-Use Hashish Regulation and Security Act, in addition to San Bernardino County ordinance, which doesn’t enable business hashish. The county additionally doesn’t enable outside hashish cultivation.
Though Operation Hammer Strike has concluded, the division states that county sheriffs will proceed to analyze unlawful cultivation. “The Sheriff’s Gangs/Narcotics Division will proceed to implement California’s hashish legal guidelines and San Bernardino County’s hashish cultivation and distribution ordinance. Individuals discovered responsible of violating the state legislation and county ordinance are topic to fines, prosecution, and seizure of property.”
Operation Hammer Strike started in September 2021. On the time, there have been an estimated 1,285 unlawful grows reported all through the county. In September, the MET started with a search warrant investigation of Hesperia, Pinon Hills, Phelan, and Landers, which resulted in quite a few arrests and seizures of hashish vegetation, processed hashish product, firearms, and $30,000 money. Throughout the identical month, one other investigation yielded much more arrests and product seizures. This development continued all through 2021 and into 2022, with press releases describing the investigations in October 2021, November 2021, January 2022, February, and March.
In March, San Bernardino County sponsored state laws with Meeting Invoice 2728 and Senate Invoice 1426 to cease unlawful hashish cultivation. “Unlawful hashish farming is devastating the desert communities of San Bernardino County,” stated Supervisor Curt Hagman. “The County is decided to cease this horrible injury to the setting and to guard the lives and property of our residents from lawless criminals.”
Assemblymember Thurston “Smitty” Smith additionally defined the reasoning behind the push to get rid of unlawful grows. “The individuals of California let their voices be heard and selected to decriminalize hashish. I assist their alternative. Nevertheless, what they didn’t ask for was rampant cultivation and an unlawful market sucking up assets, destroying the setting, and placing our communities in danger,” stated Smith.
By Might 2022, one area of San Bernardino County reported that there have been no extra reported hashish grows within the space. “I’m positive there are extra on the market however we even have zero grows left within the Morongo Basin which have been reported to us,” Sheriff Shannon Dicus of Morongo Basin instructed the Hi-Desert Star. San Bernardino County Supervisor Daybreak Rowe commented on the fast name to motion. “It usually takes this county a very long time to make modifications for our residents however this was not the case. Thanks very a lot on behalf of our residents for making it a safer place to reside once more,” Rowe stated.
Statewide efforts to get rid of unlawful hashish grows have continued steadily. Again in October 2021, California Legal professional Rob Bonta introduced that the Marketing campaign In opposition to Marijuana Planting (CAMP) resulted within the destruction of over a million hashish vegetation. “Unlawful and unlicensed marijuana planting is dangerous for our surroundings, dangerous for our economic system, and dangerous for the well being and security of our communities,” Bonta said in a press release.
Extra just lately in July, companies just like the California Division of Fish and Wildlife introduced the authorization of enforcement teams to analyze unlawful cultivation through the 2022 rising season.
In October, Bonta introduced that CAMP would henceforth be known as the Eradication and Prevention of Illicit Hashish (EPIC), and would proceed to analyze unlawful cultivation. “The illicit market outweighs the authorized market,” Bonta said. “It’s the wrong way up and our objective is full eradication of the unlawful market.”