In the past three months California City Police has raided more than 30 homes participating in illegal marijuana growth one way or another.
The city actually encourages medical marijuana businesses as long as people play by the rules.
If a U-Haul truck pulled into your driveway in California City Friday, it was probably not a good sign.
Because during a massive multi-agency series of raids, Cal City Police filled up several U-Hauls with evidence of illegal marijuana grows.
“People are renting these homes out, setting up illegal operations. They’re destroying homes here in California City,” explained California City Police Chief Eric Hurtado.
California City has stood out in Kern, for allowing medical marijuana growth, processing and sales — even though the county banned those businesses from its unincorporated parts last fall.
But the desert city of around 14,000 hopes to attract legal marijuana business, while emphasizing it’s not a free-for-all.
“We’re open to discuss how to come in [as] a legitimate medical marijuana business in California City…they just have to do it the right way,” explained Hurtado.
Over a dozen illegal home grow raids were carried out in Cal City Friday by over 50 officers from various law enforcement agencies.
Nine people were arrested, and bags and bags of marijuana, chemicals, and growth lights were seized.
With the owner’s permission, Cal City Police showed us the remnants of one house they raided a few days ago.
A once livable home, was wrecked by growers with wires hanging everywhere.
Hurtado offered this warning to those still operating illegal grows.
“Don’t do it, we’ll find you and arrest you,” said Chief Hurtado.
One way Cal City Police determined which houses to raid?
The city experienced a massive power outage a few weeks ago.
During that outage, the mechanisms the home grow locations would use to hide the smell of marijuana, all turned off, and neighbors for the first time, noticed the smell, and reported the homes.