This week’s front page article about mass murder of seven in the Los Angeles Times demonstrates how much international marijuana growers have infiltrated the United States.
If seven Americans had been shot in a similar fashion, it would be the main topic of nightly news. But the victims were middle-aged men and women from Laos. It happened on a marijuana farm in Riverside County in California, on September 7, 2020.
This crime doesn’t fit the narrative that the US government’s “War on Drugs” is responsible for killings involving drug operations. The Drug Policy Alliance turned the “War on Drugs” into a negative term, asserting that drug dealers are innocent victims.
“So far this year, the sheriff’s office has responded to eight incidents in Riverside County with a total of 14 murder victims ‘dealing strictly with marijuana’,” according to another article. Riverside County stands at crossroads where Laotians, Chinese groups and Mexicans compete in the drug trade. Promoters of legalizing marijuana told the public that legalization would allow law enforcement to concentrate on more serious crimes. They forgot to mention that murder would be more frequent, too.
The American Press is reluctant to tell the truth of what is really going on because of marijuana legalization. The status of the murdered farm workers is unclear; they may be indentured servants, slaves or victims of human trafficking.
This is the first of a two-part series on international drug dealers who have come to the US since marijuana was legalized. We summarize recent stories in the news, some quoted directly from the newspapers, without editing.
Ukrainians gain foothold in Sacramento marijuana market
The Sacramento Bee reported on October 15, 2020: “Andrey Kukushkin, the Ukrainian-born businessman who was arrested in the campaign-finance scandal tied to President Donald Trump’s attorney, has established a significant foothold in Sacramento’s legal cannabis industry, new records reviewed by The Sacramento Bee show.
“Now Kukushkin’s involvement — along with a looming FBI investigation into potential corruption and The Bee’s reporting on consolidation of the industry — is causing turmoil in the Sacramento pot industry.
“On Tuesday Mayor Darrell Steinberg called for top city staffers to ‘urgently’ examine the city’s permitting process that allowed one investor, Garib Karapetyan, to gain control of nearly one third of the city’s 30 coveted retail pot permits. The mayor also said he wants the City Council to consider an ordinance to ‘at a minimum temporarily prohibit ownership transfers of our cannabis dispensaries while we audit and examine our processes.’”
Kukushkin owns or has ties to a marijuana storefront, a marijuana delivery business, a cultivation facility and two consulting firms.
The Chinese used 100 growing houses near Sacramento
Two and a half years ago, on April 6, 2018, ABC News reported that federal agents seized marijuana from 100 pot-growing houses in Sacramento tied to China-based criminals,
“Hundreds of federal and local law enforcement agents have seized roughly 100 Northern California houses purchased with money wired to the United States by a Chinese-based crime organization and used to grow massive amounts of marijuana illegally, authorities said Wednesday.
“The raids culminated a months-long investigation focusing on dozens of Chinese nationals who bought homes in seven counties. Most of the buyers were in the country legally and were not arrested as authorities investigate if they were indebted to the gang and forced into the work, U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott said.
‘Black-market pot-growing houses have proliferated in the inland California region where authorities carried out the raids, and many of them were traced to Chinese criminal organizations from the San Francisco Bay Area in the mid-2000s,’ Scott said.”
“Authorities tracked at least 124 wire transfers totally $6.3 million from Fujian Province in China, all just below the $50,000 limit imposed by the by the Chinese government.” The article stated that the people in the houses may be “indentured servants,” brought to the US to buy and tend grow houses. Most don’t speak English.
Expanding into new territory, western Massachusetts
Other Chinese groups or syndicates went to Colorado and to obscure outposts in western Massachusetts. Two such groups were arrested on July 31, 2020. Massachusetts Live reported of the arrests at growing operations in western Massachusetts.
In one case, huge monthly electric bills of $10,000 a month alerted an electric company to suspicious activity in Savoy. Electrical workers went to check on the home in rural Berkshire County. After Chinese occupants threw money at them and shut the door, the utility company informed police. Law enforcement set up a clever means to find the homeowner and obtain a search warrant.
“They obtained a search warrant two days later and eventually found nearly 3,600 marijuana plants inside with an estimated street value of $3 million.
“Mai, of Staten Island, New York, and the owner of the home, Bin Huang, 32, of Brooklyn, New York, were arrested Wednesday and charged with marijuana trafficking when they attempted to return to the secluded home set on 14 acres of land.”
On the same day, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents raided large growing houses in Monson and Palmer, Massachusetts. They arrested two Chinese nationals after finding 1,100 marijuana plants in a Monson warehouse— plus 3,000 more at four residential properties in Monson and neighboring Palmer.
The men had moved from Chicago to western Massachusetts in February, for the express purpose of growing marijuana. Although Illinois began to allow marijuana sales this year, home growing would not have been allowed there.
Mexican traffickers continue to use banned pesticides
(Mexican cartels grew marijuana in our national forests before legalization. Some people voted for legalization because they thought that “regulation” could stop the environmental damage caused by marijuana growers. Others thought the illicit market would magically disappear.)
Last year the Los Angeles Times reported that Mexican growers continue to poison forests of the Sierra Nevada with carbofuran.
“California law enforcement has learned that Mexican drug traffickers are using a dangerous pesticide banned in the United States to grow marijuana in remote areas of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, and are going after their operations.
“The pesticide, carbofuran, is toxic to wildlife and humans and can cause permanent reproductive damage. Law enforcement took reporters on a tour of one of the illegal grow sites on Tuesday, where a bottle of carbofuran could be seen.
“These are federal lands, and they are being systematically destroyed through clear-cutting, stream diversion, chemicals and pesticides,” said U.S. Atty. McGregor Scott at a news conference, where he was joined by federal, state and local officials who were part of the investigation. “It’s a vitally important issue.”
Summary: Pandora’s box
We cannot blame the poor migrants brought into this country thinking they will have a better life. We can blame the federal government which stood on the sidelines while states legalized marijuana and legitimized its sale.
So many foreign traders, from all over the world, have come to our country to grow marijuana. It’s not surprising that foreigners see our policy of complacency as an opportunity to get rich. Their illegal activities dwarf the “legal” market set up by states. The “indentured servants,” whom they bring here, don’t find a good life in America. They often become victims of human trafficking as well, and Americans need to wise up to their mistreatment.
By legalizing marijuana and legitimizing this drug, as many states have done, the US has opened Pandora’s Box. Subscribe to our blog, in order to read Part 2 on international drug dealers.