The recreational use of marijuana is now legal in California, but criminal organizations in the state still cultivate large amounts of the drug. One such operation was raided on July 31 in Plumas County. During the operation, one man was taken into custody and approximately 11,000 marijuana plants were destroyed. A Plumas County Sheriff's Office representative said the facility bore all the hallmarks of a large-scale narcotics operation run by a Mexican drug cartel.
On July 21, California authorities arrested two people on a variety of charges, including drug possession, after they were accused of shoplifting at a retail store. The incident took place in Vacaville.
In early July, California authorities arrested a man and a woman for allegedly dealing drugs in Wasco. The arrests were the result of a one-month investigation.
A 48-year-old California man was sentenced to 15 years in a federal prison on July 8 for committing firearm and narcotics crimes. Following a one-day bench trial in March, the San Bernardino County resident, who police say is a member of a notorious Los Angeles street gang, was found guilty of possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking activities and possessing a gun while a convicted felon. The judge also ordered that he serve five years of supervised release after completing his custodial sentence.
Evidence collected by the FBI, California Highway Patrol, and local law enforcement in Modesto has reportedly built a case for methamphetamine trafficking against the president of the Modesto Hells Angels Motorcycle Club and its associates. Federal authorities have charged the club president, his wife and another man with conspiracy to possess and distribute methamphetamine.
On June 19, federal, state and local authorities in California conducted an undercover drug raid called "Operation Red Reaper," which broke up a large drug distribution network that was allegedly run by violent street and prison gangs. The raid, which resulted in the arrest of 54 people, was the culmination of a 10-month investigation.
The drug possession convictions of five California prison inmates who had their sentences extended after marijuana was found in their cells have been overturned. The ruling, which was made by the Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District in Sacramento, was released on June 11. The Attorney General's Office has not yet announced whether it plans to appeal the decision to the California Supreme Court.
Police seized more than 500 pounds of methamphetamine in San Bernardino County after a multi-agency narcotics investigation into the activities of the Sinaloa drug cartel. A 55-year-old Apple Valley man and a 21-year-old Ontario resident have been charged in connection with the drugs. Agencies participating in the investigation include the California Highway Patrol, the Alhambra and West Covina police departments and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
A U.S. attorney for the Central District of California described the international investigation that identified men profiting from online drug sales as an example of the Department of Justice's ability to counteract sophisticated dark web criminals. The investigation resulted in the arrest of four German men and another man from Brazil. They were allegedly involved with a dark web marketplace called Wall Street Market, which authorities described as the second-largest online market for contraband.
A 39-year-old California man has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison to be followed by four years of supervised release after being convicted of possessing a controlled substance with the intent to distribute and being a felon in possession of a firearm. A federal jury found the man guilty of all but one of the charges facing him after a trial lasting three days.