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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
November 21, 2003

Marijuana Growing Operations Sprout Up In Metropolitan Detroit

Marijuana plantsNOV 21--Detroit, MI- Recent news stories have reported the large number of marijuana growing operations located just over the Canadian border, but the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Detroit has also noticed a resurgence in marijuana growing operations throughout the Detroit metropolitan area. While the latest issue of Forbes magazine analyzed the changing situation regarding marijuana in Canada, nothing has changed on the Detroit side of the border. The enforcement of the federal marijuana growing and trafficking laws remain diligently pursued.

Many younger Americans are mistakenly informed that marijuana enforcement in the United States has weakened or become a lower priority. That is not the case and the DEA in Detroit along with its state and local task force partners have made several recent indoor marijuana growing operation seizures, which leaves their operators facing stiff mandatory federal prison sentences. Because growing marijuana is legally defined as the "manufacture" of a controlled substance, growers face penalties that are comparable to those trafficking in heroin, cocaine or ecstasy. Under federal law, anyone convicted of growing or manufacturing 100 or more marijuana plants is exposed to a minimum mandatory sentence of 5 years in federal prison.

Marijuana plantsTwo recent marijuana-growing operations seized by the DEA Detroit represent the diversity of the growers. A significant growing operation was seized in suburban Southfield, Michigan from the middle of a highly populated residential community. The operators had cleared the basement area of a large ranch-style home exclusively for growing large amounts of marijuana. Nearly five hundred marijuana plants were seized. The second seizure was from a rural farm outside metropolitan Detroit where the operators built a separate pole barn specially wired and insulated to promote optimal growing conditions. While these operators felt comfortable that they had concealed their activities, both organizations now face significant penalties for their illegal enterprises.

While those in the marijuana advocacy groups mislead people on the true social, economic and medical costs of marijuana use, the DEA Detroit has prosecuted marijuana trafficking groups that rival cocaine cartels in scope and violence. The Detroit DEA office recently seized a cargo van that had been converted into an armored vehicle. It did not take much thought to realize the terrifying crimes that could have been committed with this vehicle and its enforcers. This vehicle belonged to a large-scale marijuana trafficking group in Detroit that is under investigation by the DEA Homicide Task Force for its involvement in over a dozen drug-related homicides. Many law enforcement officers have been killed in the United States over the years for what some people refer to as a harmless and victimless crime. We hope this helps clarify what law enforcement has always known: marijuana is a dangerous drug that causes tremendous devastation on American society.

Marijuana plants

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