Most Epic Marijuana Busts in History

Most Epic Marijuana Busts in History

Believe it or not, even though marijuana is steadily gaining traction as a legal way to enjoy being human around the globe, the majority of countries (read that: governments) still outlaw the plant and continue to prosecute perps to the fullest degree of their Draconian laws.

While the cat-and-mouse game continues to play out between police and legal pot users, there are far more massive drug smuggling operations going on behind the scenes all over the world. Where marijuana is still illegal, there are massive profits to be made via the black market. If you thought getting caught with that pencil-sized blunt back in high school was bad, here are some of the biggest and most epic marijuana busts in recent history.

30-tons of US-Mexico tunnel weed

In 2010, the American DEA and its shadowy arm known as the San Diego Tunnel Task Force seized over 30-tons of Mexican marijuana in one of the largest busts in American history. After surveilling a suspicious warehouse in Otey Mesa, California, officers set up a checkpoint after a semi was seen leaving the location.

What they found was the beginning of a drug bust so massive in scale that it led to the discovery of an 1,800-foot tunnel burrowed from Tijuana to California and the confiscation of 30-tons of low-grade Mexican cannabis. At the time, a bust this size was worth around $20 million which just goes to show that there’s still plenty of money to be made in selling nasty brick-dope to places where the good stuff is still illegal.

And you thought 30-tons was bad!

Remaining focused on our neighbor to the South, the largest pot bust in Mexican history took place later that year to the tune of 105-tons! After a probably bad-ass Desperado-like pre-dawn gunfight in- you guessed it- Tijuana, Mexican authorities seized the massive haul from a warehouse in which six cargo containers full of cartel cannabis were discovered.

With a street value of over $275 million, perhaps the best part of this bust was the Homer Simpson image plastered on many of the packages (over 10,000 of them) exclaiming in Spanish: “Voy de mojarra y que wey!!!”.

Rough translation: “I’m going to get high, dude!” Well, not anymore. D’oh!

Operation “Save Our Sierra”

Going back into the marijuana Dark Ages, 2009 was a notable year for law enforcement in the state of California. Roughly the size of Connecticut, Fresno county is mountainous and sparsely populated which makes it an ideal location for illegal outdoor grows. Or at least- it was.

In July of 2009, authorities launched Operation “Save Our Sierra” and confiscated nearly $1 billion worth of marijuana plants and netted 82 Mexican nationals with strong ties to the cartels. Unfortunately, nobody talks about the 330,000 innocent victims that were destroyed in the process; those poor unknowing plants.

Kentucky Meteorologist Faces Felony Charges for Cannabis Cultivation

Kentucky Meteorologist Faces Felony Charges for Cannabis Cultivation

All different types of people consume cannabis, and that means all walks of life also grow it. Often, when people work in creative fields, there’s a likely connection between career and cannabis.

Sadly for amateur botanists Tori Shaw and Tyler Smoyer, that collision came to head in Kentucky, a state with some of the strictest laws against growing cannabis.

The couple was busted via the state’s “Text-a-Tip” program when someone notified police of suspicious behavior. Cops visited the couple’s home for a brief conversation then promptly returned with a warrant to search the property. The warrant turned up a whopping seven marijuana plants along with six guns and a tactical vest.

While it’s never a good idea to combine cannabis with firearms, this honest-working couple wasn’t exactly a branch of ISIS. Nonetheless, they’ve been charged with a felony for growing more than five plants of cannabis and multiple misdemeanors for having the weaponry.

Each individual has a clean record but can still face up to five years in jail and a $10,000 fine. But both individuals lives are already altered: Tori Shaw, a notable local news personality on WPST TV, lost her job and both must now deal with the legal and fiscal aftermath that comes with such a case.

As expected with this type of case, the local community is not happy about the charges facing these two non-violent, law-abiding members of society. Their complaint stems from a common one: these aren’t seasoned criminals worth law enforcement’s time.

This is a normal married couple that was simply growing enough cannabis for private consumption (seven plants is not much). While having guns also in the mix wasn’t the best idea, the punishment in this case does not seem to fit the “crime”–because the crime simply shouldn’t be one.

Earlier this year, a Julliard-trained cellist was charged smuggling more than one-hundred pounds of cannabis in Oregon. While that was far more of a crime, both cases go to show that normal, talented individuals often turn to post for a financial rescue.

Bernie Canter

photo credit: Kentucky State Police

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