Authorities find and destroy $1 billion worth of marijuana plants in Central Valley

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FILE – This Sept. 11, 2018, file photo shows cannabis plants growing at a greenhouse at SLOgrown Genetics in the coastal mountain range of San Luis Obispo, Calif. California auditors have found that the agency overseeing the state’s vast legal marijuana market is understaffed and struggling to do the job. A Finance Department audit in early July 2019 finds that about two-thirds of the Bureau of Cannabis Control’s authorized positions remain unfilled. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

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February 07 2021 06:00 pm

KERN COUNTY (KRON) – A tip about an allegedly legal hemp production in the Central Valley led investigators to fields of about 10 million marijuana plants.

According to the Kern County Sheriff’s Office, they executed search warrants on 11 fields spreading across 459 acres in the Arvin area.

About 10 million marijuana plants valued at about $1 billion on the black market were destroyed.

Tests showed THC levels in the fields were “well over” the legal limit, the sheriff’s office said.

According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture code, industrial hemp must contain less than 0.3% THC content.

“These illicit marijuana gardens were grown under the guise of legitimate hemp production,” the sheriff’s office said.

The investigation is ongoing.

The FBI and California Department of Fish and Wildlife assisted in the investigation.

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