Focusing on larger targets, the taskforce achieved similar results from previous quarter through serving 35 percent fewer search warrants
CALIFORNIA – Continuing to protect public safety, safeguard natural resources, and advance the integrity of the legal cannabis market, the Unified Cannabis Enforcement Taskforce (UCETF) seized more than $101 million in illegal cannabis during the third quarter of 2023. During enforcement operations, UCETF seized 69 crime-linked firearms — a 363% increase compared to the previous quarter.
Among the highlights from the last quarter were seizures of almost 100,000 cannabis plants and over 61,000 pounds of illegal cannabis. These numbers were accomplished despite serving 35 percent less search warrants in the quarter.
“For the last three months UCETF has been focused on larger, outdoor cannabis operations that posed a significant threat to the environment and public safety” stated Bill Jones, Chief of the Law Enforcement Division for DCC. “Many of these illegal cannabis operations are linked to organized crime, and in addition to threatening the environment and communities, the products these operations pose a direct threat to consumer health and the stability of the legal cannabis market.”
The results of UCETF’s Q3 2023 enforcement actions are listed below:
UCETF Operations Q3 2023 Q2 2023
Search Warrants Served 60 92
Pounds of Cannabis Seized 61,415.75 66,315.01
Retail Value of Cannabis Seized $101,349,657 $109,277,688.94
Cannabis Plants Eradicated 98,054 120,970
Firearms Seized 69 19
Money Seized $0 $223,809
“Over the past quarter, UCTEF conducted several highly coordinated operations that will disrupt the illegal supply chain and improve consumer and public safety. The task force focused on rural areas where illegal cultivators have been conducting unlicensed operations,” said Nathaniel Arnold, Acting Chief of Enforcement for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “These enforcement numbers represent the hard work and commitment from our multiagency teams. I applaud our officers and partner agencies who worked tirelessly to identify these clandestine operations and provide a good measure of public and consumer safety.”
Since inception, UCETF has seized $295,284,220.94 in unlicensed cannabis through the serving of 203 search warrants. The taskforce has also eradicated 277,314 plants and seized 101 firearms.
Created in 2022, the Unified Cannabis Enforcement Taskforce has been charged by the Governor to better align state efforts and increase cannabis enforcement coordination between state, local and federal partners. UCETF’s enforcement actions protect consumer and public safety, safeguard the environment, and deprive illegal cannabis operators and transnational criminal organizations of illicit revenue that harms consumers and undercuts the regulated cannabis market in California.
The taskforce is co-chaired by the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and coordinated by the Homeland Security Division of Cal OES. The taskforce includes more than two dozen local, state, and federal partners working together to disrupt the illegal cannabis market.
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