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California prosecutors back off punishing cartel marijuana farmers breaking environmental laws

by Tori Richards, Investigative Reporter

Los Angeles County narcotics investigators were unable to convince District Attorney George Gascon or California Attorney General Rob Bonta to file felony charges against international cartel members after busting the largest illegal marijuana operation in the area’s history.

The monthslong operation culminated during 10 days in May when 287 search warrants were served by hundreds of law enforcement officials in a desert north of Los Angeles. They found harvested marijuana worth $1.4 billion along with 40 firearms, which included numerous rifles. Authorities arrested 105 people.

Investigators sought to convince Gascon’s office that felony charges were warranted in this case because of the egregious nature of the farm sites. Hazardous pesticides were routinely used on 270,000 plants that have certainly infiltrated the groundwater, said Lt. Howard Fuchs with the LA County Sheriff’s Department…

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