Fed's Raid of Pot Houses in Region Represents The Best of News, The Worst of News For Elk Grove

McGregor Scott (left) and Sean Ragan announce the raid and seizure of
pot houses in the Sacramento region. |
April 6, 2018 |

As widely reported this week, a task force of Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies participated in what was characterized as a significant takedown of residential marijuana growing operations in the Sacramento region. Many of the 75-plus houses raided where not surprisingly in Elk Grove.

According to information released by U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California McGregor Scott and Special Agent in Charge Sean Ragan for the FBI's Sacramento office, the four-year investigation led to the discovery that many of these operations were funded by money coming from the Peoples Republic of China. As a result, several individuals were arrested, and of greater significance, civil forfeitures of up to 100 dwellings were initiated.

For residents of Elk Grove, this is a welcome development. At times it seems this site reports almost on a weekly basis Elk Grove Police serving search warrants on suspected marijuana growing operations.

While it is now legal to grow up to six plants per residence and possess and consume marijuana for personal use, these grow houses operate outside the scope of California and federal law. As such they are at a minimum, nuisances to the neighborhood who often see the desirability, safety, and value of their houses collectively diminished.

The role Elk Grove Police, along with the other agencies have taken in addressing this problem is certainly good news in Elk Grove. If you have any doubt, just ask neighbors who have been subjected to a grow house on their street.

This enhanced enforcement in light of marijuana's legalization in California is welcome news, it raises some questions worth contemplating. More specifically it raises many questions about Elk Grove's future and its leaders.

Residents are undoubtedly happy that the EGPD is aggressively pursuing these illegal operations, they are not without costs. Not only does this proliferation of illegal activities right under our collectives noses diminish our community's reputation, the fiscal cost to taxpayers is not insignificant.  

As noted in our report, the raids took place across the region with Sacramento and Elk Grove, with 41 and 16 operations busted respectively. Although there were several smaller communities listed such as Galt, Herald, Rio Linda and Wilton included, there were several nearby cities conspicuously missing from the list.

There was no mention of Citrus Heights, Rancho Cordova, West Sacramento, Folsom, and Roseville.

Does this mean these communities have no grow houses? Probably not, as we see there were two in the Placer County municipality of Lincoln.

And therein lies the dilemma for Elk Grove leaders - why have there been so many grow houses in the city, and what steps can they take to vanquish this scourge. 

Part of the answer is as the second largest city in the region it is invariable that when compared to Sacramento, there was about half as many in Elk Grove as there. According to the information posted by Sacramento Bee reporter Stan Stanton on Twitter, of the 75 houses raided last week 41 were in Sacramento and 16 in Elk Grove, which is roughly the same ratio when comparing each city's population.

Still, this does not answer why a community like Roseville with about 135,000 people had no dwellings in the raid. Given the ratios between Sacramento and Elk Grove, by comparison, Roseville should have had about 12 houses.

There could be any number of reasons why there were no raids in Roseville. Likewise, there are probably many reasons why Elk Grove continues to be a haven for multi-national pot operations, but as it stands the public only knows that as police vigilantly raid houses on their street another one pops-up around the corner like a game of whack a mole.

Elk Grove famously overbuilt rooftops in the lead up the 2008 credit collapse and the ensuing Great Recession and became one of the epicenters of the foreclosure crisis. This abundance of cheap, new houses undoubtedly led to many of the so-called hard cash purchases of dwellings that went on to become today's pot grow houses. 

As for the leadership in Elk Grove, it is time the four men and one woman on the city council take a  long, hard look at the reasons neighborhoods throughout the city are being subjected to this menace. If leadership fails yet again and continues down the path of unbridled growth without addressing the reasons residents are subjected to this, we can only expect more of the same, particularly when it comes to having our neighborhoods infested by illegal growing operations or worse.

Let's see if they mean business when they talk about building stronger neighborhoods and address this menace on our community or if they are just blowing smoke.  

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