In the largest operation of its kind, federal agents swept across the Sacramento region Tuesday and Wednesday targeting about 75 homes serving as suspected marijuana growing sites that authorities say are operated by a Chinese organized crime syndicate.
The raids, which involved more than 500 federal, state and local agents, hit homes from Elk Grove to Sacramento to rural areas and are aimed at forcing the forfeiture of about 100 homes to the federal government, an effort valued at hundreds of millions of dollars in real estate and marijuana.
“This represents one of the largest residential forfeiture efforts in the nation’s history,” the U.S. Justice Department said.
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In an unusual twist, no arrests have yet been made as the investigation continues and focuses on the manner in which the homes were purchased and the identity of suspects federal authorities believe handled the transactions.
McGregor Scott, the U.S. attorney for the Sacramento-based Eastern District of California, emphasized that the raids, which used flash-bang grenades to gain access to some homes, are not aimed at restricting California's new state law allowing recreational marijuana use.
“It absolutely has nothing to do with that,” Scott said. “This is illegal under anybody’s law.”