US seizes pot-growing houses tied to China-based criminals

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — U.S. and local law enforcement agents have seized roughly 100 Northern California houses they say were purchased with money wired by a Chinese-based crime organization and used to grow massive amounts of marijuana illegally.

The raids announced Wednesday culminate a monthslong investigation focusing on Chinese nationals who bought homes in seven counties. U.S. authorities say most of the homebuyers were in the country legally and came from as far away as Georgia, Illinois, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

None of the buyers has been arrested as authorities seized the houses in what the U.S. Department of Justice called one of the nation’s largest residential forfeiture efforts ever.

The crackdown comes as California is months into creating the world’s largest legal marijuana market amid uncertainty about whether the federal government will try to shut it down.

Categories: California News