California police busted a multimillion-dollar marijuana operation on Wednesday, Dec. 13, seizing 35,000 marijuana plants and detaining a 43-year-old mom believed to be “drug queen-pin.”
Stephanie Smith from Pacific Palisades allegedly ran an unlicensed operation—with employees, guards, an advanced drip-irrigation system, multiple buildings, and a $67,000 monthly electric bill, according to The Sacremento Bee citing police.
Drugs 'Queenpin' behind multi-million dollar weed 'fortress' is busted 'netting a fortune and using it to fund lavish lifestyle' https://t.co/CaW5lvlODr
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) December 15, 2017
Investigators became aware of the operations after receiving complaints from neighbors of the warehouse. The warehouse was outfitted with a 12-foot metal rolling fence, fortified doors, a large concrete wall around the parking lot, and surveillance cameras. Inside, police found thousands of plant stacked next to one another under heat lamps, reported The Associated Press.
Police believe the marijuana “fortress” could be the largest indoor marijuana operation ever discovered in San Bernardino, California.
“In my 26 years, it was the biggest growth that I’ve ever seen,” San Bernardino Police Lt. Mike Madden told The Associated Press. “There were all different rooms for different processes and hydration, filtration, and ventilation. It was pretty extensive.”
Authorities also raided three other properties believed to be owned by Smith and seized 18,000 pounds of marijuana in total. Eight people who were working in the warehouse have also been detained but no charges have been filed, according to the news station.
Smith is believed to be making millions of dollars a month running the operation, CBS News reported citing sources.
Marijuana was legalized in California about a year ago but growers must receive licenses and permits from local governments and states, reported The Associated Press. Smith was not authorized to grow the plant.
“Marijuana has been legalized, but there are stringent requirements,” Madden told The Associated Press. “It’s not that you just get to set up shop where you want to set up.”
If police decide to formally arrest and charge Smith, she faces a misdemeanor, jail time and a fine at the state level, reported CBS News.
Recreational marijuana sales only become legal in California on Jan. 1, 2018.
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