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LASD Seizes Thousands Of Marijuana Plants, Arrests 23 In Raids Targeting Illegal Grow Operations

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Sheriff's deputies Tuesday seized thousands of marijuana plants and arrested more than 20 in raids targeting illegal pot farms in the Antelope Valley.

Last week, CBS Los Angeles reported on how prevalent the illegal marijuana grows were in the high desert and the dangers they pose. Authorities said a number of the operations were run by international drug cartels and illegally use other people's land and water.

Video of the operation showed deputies removing weed plants and bulldozing a 75-greenhouse grow that covered 10 acres of ground in Lancaster.

According to the sheriff's department, 23 arrests were made, five firearms were seized, two water trucks were recovered and marijuana worth millions of dollars was seized from greenhouses. Deputies also rescued seven mixed-breed dogs including four puppies that were placed in the care of a nonprofit dog rescue organization.

Villanueva said more than two dozen search warrants had been served with more to come. He said the illegal operations were not only dangerous, but we hurting the environment as well.

"The amount of trash, debris, the pesticides, the chemicals that are used go right into the environment, gets into the food chain, affects all our wildlife, our critters," he said. "The trash is strewn for miles and the wind carries it throughout the desert and the impact of it is incalculable."

A number of agencies including the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Army and sheriff's departments from Ventura and Kern counties were involved in the operation.

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