Do you realize how large a cannabis farm plot has to be for it to be seen thousands of miles away from space?
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)’s international space station and its orbiting satellites routinely pick up and send back a lot of data on earth and other planets. On one of these rounds, NASA’s detailed satellite imagery system was able to detect the presence of a vast illegal indoor cannabis farm.
Illicit cannabis operations
Millions of dollars are lost annually due to the operations of illegal cannabis farms all over the world. The harvests from these unlicensed farms meet the ever-increasing demand for the cannabis black market.
Each year, law enforcement agencies discover and raid about a dozen of these sites and destroy the crops. This has not deterred others from committing the same illegal acts. It’s more or less as though two or more illicit cannabis operations begin for every illegal farm that is raided.
Some years ago, the biggest illicit cannabis operation—to date—was discovered in the Netherlands. The farm plot occupied 8.8 million square feet, and it was used mainly for the production of cannabis plants.
According to the reports, the farm was producing about 1,000 tons of weed annually for distribution within and outside Europe. This amount is so much more than that produced by a bunch of legally licensed cannabis farms.
Cannabis In Nevada
Nevada has legalized the use of medical and recreational cannabis. The first was approved in 2000 at the ballots, while the latter was legalized in 2016.
Residents in the state who are 21 years and older are permitted to purchase marijuana for whatever reason from licensed dispensaries located at designated locations all over the state. However, recreational users are not allowed to buy more than an ounce of weed at a time.
The Latest Raid
The official report states that the first reports were made by residents during summer last year. This was when the remaining embers left off from the Numbers Fire started growing cold.
The wildfire named the Numbers Fire destroyed over 18,000 acres of Pines in Nevada’s Nut mountains. Over a thousand people lost their homes to the wildfire in July 2020.
NASA was able to detect an indoor cannabis farm more than 62 kilometers away from space. The illegal operation has been described as the largest ever found in Douglas County Nevada.
About the Douglas County Illicit Cannabis Farm
Located about 20 miles from Carson City, Nevada’s state capital and the Lake Tahoe border is Douglas County. The farm had about 80 employees working on-site.
No other business in the county employed up to this and the residents knew the lockdown of the farm would mean an automatic loss of employment. Critics suspect this could have been the major reason the presence of the illicit grows remained undetected for a while.
The Record-courier revealed that the greenhouses were situated on 20 acres of property. There were about 160 of these structures altogether.
Unbeknownst to a lot of residents in Douglas county, complaints about the cannabis farm were being submitted to the law enforcement agencies for some months.
Rather than raid immediately a complaint was filed, Nevada security authorities took due diligence to gather their facts/evidence right. Like they say, to catch a very big fish, patience is required.
It is also possible that the law enforcement agencies were hoping to unearth the persons or gangs behind the operations of the illicit farm. This would have probably helped them arrest the kingpins, rather than the stooges running the farm.
One of the pieces of evidence obtained includes the satellite imagery report obtained from NASA’s space unit.
Nevada authorities went prepared!
On the day of the raid, a high number of state and national law enforcers including officers of the Douglas County Sheriff office, the DEA, the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, the Washoe Tribal Police Department, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and other local officers went into Douglas county and shut down the operations of the illicit grow.
Over 70 people were met on-site and detained for questioning. These workers were found working in very bad conditions that couldn’t be seen in legal cannabis farms.
After everything had settled, the sheriff’s webpage reported that only two persons were arrested for offenses unrelated to marijuana charges.
Buried Weed, Zero Cannabis Kingpins
It seems it was all for nothing. After the raid, the authorities are no closer to tracking down any cannabis kingpin than they were a few months ago. The events of that day are still bungled up and no one could immediately state what the authorities did with the high pile of weed gotten from the farm.
Investigations on the subject revealed that about 62 tons or 123,900 pounds of weed had been buried deep, never to be seen again. The total number of plants on the farm wasn’t disclosed, but with that weight, it could easily be thousands. This means weed worth millions of dollars was buried. A newspaper suggested that the authorities were trying to dissuade people from figuring out the location of the grave and trying to dig up the buried plants.
People working on-site reported that the plants were not so little, so a very deep grave would have been dug to contain the pile.
Reports given by residents point that several Chinese nationals who could belong in an organized crime syndicate are behind this cannabis grow.
Authorities say the Cedar Flat grow is the largest unlicensed marijuana farm ever discovered in Nevada.
No one has stepped forward to claim ownership of the raised farm, and it is unlikely anyone will show up for it anytime soon.
It is a pity that the federal and state authorities failed to find out the kingpins behind the farm.
Hopefully, an example is made out of someone soon to discourage the establishment of illegal cannabis grows such as this. If the raids alone were working, there wouldn’t be as much illicit cannabis as there is now.