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LA Sheriff's Department Seizes Over $1 Billion Of Pot In Antelope Valley

A close-up image of marijuana plants inside a grow house.
The L.A. County Sheriff's Department says it confiscated more than 16 tons of illegal marijuana in Antelope Valley last month.
(David Buimovitch
AFP/Getty Images)
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The L.A. County Sheriff's Department announced a massive, week-long crackdown on illegal marijuana grow operations in the Antelope Valley, resulting in the seizure of what it says is more than $1 billion worth of pot.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said investigators confiscated more than 16 tons of marijuana, and made 131 arrests. The multi-agency raids took place early last month, amid what Villanueva called a "significant proliferation" of illegal grows in that area.

L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who represents part of the Antelope Valley, said she's concerned that unsanctioned marijuana grows could reach other areas.

"I know everyone here today shares a commitment to stop large scale marijuana grows," Barger said at a Tuesday press conference with the sheriff. "This issue is plaguing the Antelope Valley and has potential to spread throughout Los Angeles County. I have told my colleagues it's only a matter of time before it leaves the Antelope Valley and hits down below."

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Barger has pledged $250,000 in discretionary funding to pay for future crackdowns, and has called for the creation of a separate law enforcement unit to address illegal marijuana cultivation.