Illegally cultivated grow farms in California and Washington state are operated by Chinese nationals, according to a report from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
A leaked law enforcement-sensitive bulletin obtained by Breitbart Texas states that Chinese nationals on overstayed visas continue to be found working on marijuana grow farms. Some are operated by Chinese drug rings.
On May 4, 2020, CBP agents working at the Colville Border Patrol Station and assigned to the Stevens County Sheriff’s Narcotics Task Force executed search warrants in at least seven locations.
At all seven, authorities encountered Chinese nationals. Eight individuals were apprehended, including seven Chinese and one American. Agents seized 8,841 marijuana plants, $87,000 cash, three firearms, and six mortgage-free properties valued at $950,000 total.
On May 20, 2020, CBP agents from the Yuma Sector assisted the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office with suspected illegal grow sites near Palo Verde College in Blythe, resulting in the apprehension of 104 individuals (of which 80 were Chinese). It was determined that 14 of the 80 Chinese nationals violated their immigration statuses. All admitted during questioning to having flown into Los Angeles on temporary business or tourism visas, according to CBP reporting.
The report goes onto state that due to a decline of marijuana trafficking from Mexico and Canada, tactics have shifted. More is grown domestically and moved from U.S. states which have fully legalized. The shift in production may act as an economic pull factor for Chinese nationals to remain illegally in the United States while working on grow farms, based on several interviews.
The DEA’s Cannabis Suppression/Eradication Program statistics were also provided. In 2019, law enforcement agencies raided over 1,344 outdoor grow sites in California and 42 in Washington state, compared to 899 and 44, respectively, in 2018. Approximately 2,600,000 outdoor cultivated cannabis plants were seized in California and Washington State in 2019, compared to 1,400,000 in 2018. Law enforcement also confiscating approximately 3,210 weapons from illegal cannabis cultivators last year.
Jaeson Jones is a retired Captain from the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division and a Breitbart Texas contributor. While on duty, he managed daily operations for the Texas Rangers Border Security Operations Center.