Los Angeles police have seized over 373,000 marijuana plants this week, the largest seize in the county’s history. These 373,000 plants are worth over $1.2 billion in the private market and up to $1.6 billion on the streets. Although this bust was the largest in county history, these plants only make up a fraction of all of the illegal grow operation in the southern California desert.

LA County sheriffs state that armed cartel members run large illegal grows in the California desert which compete with the state’s legal marijuana industry.

Over the last few years, the sheriff’s department has been looking for many of these illegal grow ops. Although a lot of time and energy has been spent looking, only a couple hundred have been shut down.

Eric Lindberg, senior chief geologist with the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board stated that these growing operations use harsh chemicals and pesticides which are harmful to the environment and poison the ground water in the county.

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