Alameda County

$10M Cash, Up to 500K Plants Seized in East Bay Illegal Marijuana Operation: Sheriff

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A drug operation was snuffed out Wednesday, after detectives from the Alameda County Sheriff's Office served search warrants in the East Bay and found one of the largest illegal marijuana growing operations in California.

Sheriff's detectives described the operation as an organized and sophisticated network of individuals making tens of millions of dollars in profits that was avoiding state regulations.

The sheriff's office did not specify the cities or locations of the illegal operation but implied through statements and images it involved 18 illegal grow sites.

"We estimate at this time that we have seized over 100,000 plants and upwards of $10,000,000 in cash," said Sgt. Ray Kelly in the news release. "In addition, there are millions of dollars in infrastructure, equipment, lighting, generators and supplies used to facilitate the grows."

On Thursday, the sheriff's office revised its estimate on the number of plants to between 100,000 and 500,000, according to a Facebook post.

Authorities arrested seven people, believed to be the masterminds of the elaborate operation that included sites in Oakland, Castro Valley and a warehouse in San Leandro.

The sheriff's office said detectives will be at the scenes over the next several days processing and accounting for the large amount of evidence.

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