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50 Senators and House members press Merrick Garland on CCP ties to marijuana grows

by

Daily Caller News Foundation

A group of fifty senators and members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday, asking him to detail possible Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ties to illegal marijuana grows across the United States.

The Republican lawmakers led by Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa asked Garland to explain what resources the Department of Justice (DOJ) has dedicated to the issue and how many CCP-tied illegal marijuana grows they are aware of that are operating in the United States, according to a copy of the letter first obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) identified 270 suspected Chinese illegal marijuana grow operations in Maine that could generate an estimated $4.37 billion in annual revenue, the DCNF exclusively reported in August. The revenue from these marijuana grows is often used for more criminal activities or sent back to China.

“We are deeply concerned with reports from across the country regarding Chinese nationals and organized crime cultivating marijuana on United States farmland,” the lawmakers wrote to Garland. “In some cases, the grow operators were also engaged in human trafficking, forced labor, drug trafficking, and violent crime. These farms are most commonly in states with legal marijuana programs where illicit growers try to disguise their operations in communities where law-abiding Americans live and work.”

“The thousands of illicit Chinese marijuana growing operations pose a direct threat to public safety, human rights, national security, and the addiction crisis gripping our nation,” the lawmakers said. “We write to you today to inquire about efforts by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to address this developing criminal enterprise. Chinese nationals—including those with potential ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)— are reportedly operating thousands of illicit marijuana farms across the country.”

The DCNF visited dozens of properties identified as suspected Chinese marijuana grows in the DHS memo, as well as other locations reported to be possible Chinese marijuana grows by The Maine Wire. (RELATED: Former Border Patrol And ICE Officials Refute Biden’s Claim That He Doesn’t Have The ‘Power’ To Secure Border)

Other states with legalized marijuana have also seen illegal grow operations pop up in recent years. In California’s Siskiyou County, for example, both illegal and legal immigrants from China are present on the grow sites, the county sheriff, Jeremiah LaRue, previously told the DCNF.

(Jennie Taer//Daily Caller News Foundation)

Suspected illegal marijuana grow in Wilton, Maine (Jennie Taer//Daily Caller News Foundation)

Chinese nationals who are either legal residents of the U.S. or have asylum claims that prevent them from being removed from the country are often involved in the grow operations, a federal law enforcement source previously told the DCNF. The illicit operations also likely involve a nexis to Mexican cartels, who help with money laundering efforts used to obtain the properties, former head of the DEA’s Special Operations Division Derek Maltz previously told the DCNF.

There were 5,951 encounters of Chinese migrants crossing the southern border illegally in December alone, which is more than the total in fiscal years 2021 and 2022 combined, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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