Raids on marijuana grow houses often find Chinese ‘farmers’ inside

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It’s hardly unusual for police in the Sacramento region to find an illegal marijuana grow house in an otherwise quiet suburb. But in several recent police raids, the occupants of these grow houses have turned out to be Chinese nationals, raising questions about about who is recruiting them and financing their operations.

Recent police raids in Yuba, Yolo, Placer and Sacramento counties have resulted in multiple arrests of people with Chinese passports, some of them speaking no English and apparently providing little help to investigators.

One recent indictment obtained by McClatchy asserts that money from a southern China bank account was transferred to California to pay for down payments on homes that later became grow houses, suggesting that at least some in China are investing the illicit U.S. marijuana market.

“These are sophisticated operations,” said Thomas Yu, a longtime Asian gang investigator with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. “When we hear about Asian gangs, we think about young guys doing drive-by shootings. This isn’t like that. These are organized ad hoc enterprises, run by businessmen. They are in it for the profit.”

It’s hardly unusual for police in the Sacramento region to find an illegal marijuana grow house in an otherwise quiet suburb. But in several recent police raids, the occupants of these grow houses have turned out to be Chinese nationals, raising questions about about who is recruiting them and financing their operations.

Recent police raids in Yuba, Yolo, Placer and Sacramento counties have resulted in multiple arrests of people with Chinese passports, some of them speaking no English and apparently providing little help to investigators.

One recent indictment obtained by McClatchy asserts that money from a southern China bank account was transferred to California to pay for down payments on homes that later became grow houses, suggesting that at least some in China are investing the illicit U.S. marijuana market.

“These are sophisticated operations,” said Thomas Yu, a longtime Asian gang investigator with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. “When we hear about Asian gangs, we think about young guys doing drive-by shootings. This isn’t like that. These are organized ad hoc enterprises, run by businessmen. They are in it for the profit.”

How to set up an indoor garden for cannabis

Chris Corsello of J Street HydroGarden in Sacramento shows what’s needed to grow sun-loving plants such as cannabis indoors. Proposition 64 takes effect in California on Jan. 1, 2017, allowing recreational use and limited growing of cannabis.

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