Sometimes the calmest, quietest neighborhoods secretly harbor the biggest criminal enterprises. That appears to have been the case in the Sunset District, as the San Francisco Police Department announced Tuesday that they had seized more than 3,000 marijuana plants, at least $11,000 in cash, and 12 pounds of bagged pot in a connected, multi-household grow operation in the Sunset, Lakeshore, and Oceanview neighborhoods, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
While the arrests and massive haul of contraband were just announced Tuesday, KPIX reports this law enforcement operation dates back to a series raids conducted on Feb. 21. Residents of one 45th Avenue location were allegedly growing more than 1,200 cannabis plants.
It is technically legal to grow your own marijuana in San Francisco, but you’re only allowed six plants and you have to have your landlord’s permission. As you can see from the SFPD photo of the grow above, there’s ample room to be concerned about fire code violations and illegal electrical hookups. And, of course, there are the obvious criminal money laundering implications.
“The financial information seized from the above-mentioned locations was indicative of an ongoing money laundering operation used to fund and expand the criminal enterprise,” SFPD said in a statement to the Chronicle.
Unlicensed, indoor marijuana grows have been something of a problem in the Sunset, and nearly 30 Sunset District grows were raided in 2009. An illegal grow was also the source of a 2013 Sunset District house fire wherein the growers had jimmied the house’s electrical system to bypass the PG&E meter.