Sacramento police announced a two-month SWAT operation this week that raided 614 illegal marijuana growing operations, resulting in 10 arrests, nearly 5,000 plants seized, and millions of dollars in fines, according to the Sacramento Bee.
Numerous City Council members’ complaints prompted the operation, which spanned back to August and covered much of the city. The Sacramento Police Department is asking the City Council for an additional $850,000 to continue the operations through June 2018.
Under Sacramento law, residents can have as many as six marijuana plants inside a home. But large-scale grows are often noticeable because of their high electricity bills and neighbor complaints, and the city had issued nearly 1,000 warning letters to households suspected of operating grows.
“What I want to do is to prevent a problem from becoming systemic,” Councilwoman Angelique Ashby, whose district received 187 warning letters, told the Bee. “You don’t want to be the illegal marijuana grow corner. I want people to know that if they try (to grow pot illegally), they’re getting a (fine) and they’ll say, ‘It’s too hard in Sacramento’ and they leave.”
The city has issued $6.8 million in fines resulting from the operation, but thus has collected only $25,000, according to a city report. Whatever money is collected will fund future enforcement.
“We know that illegal grows really breed crime in neighborhoods,” Councilman Jay Schenirer told the Bee. “I think, overall, we have a long way to go, but I think (the 60-day enforcement effort) was a significant first step in ridding our neighborhoods of these illegal grows.”