24 locations were raided on Wednesday and 18 people were arrested during an operation by law enforcement targeting an illegal marijuana ring in Riverside County. The operation was a multi-agency effort that included warrants served at 23 residences and one commercial site.

During a search of the property, law enforcement personnel were shocked to learn that 18 of the 23 homes had been converted into illegal marijuana grows. The suspects were able to bypass the electric meters to avoid detection. Typically, one of the ways law enforcement is able to find illegal marijuana grows is when the electric company flags much higher than usual energy usage in a home or building.

In all, 15,000 marijuana plants, 340 pounds of processed marijuana, five handguns, two shotguns, numerous firearm parts that could have been used to construct another 50 rifles, 9.7 pounds of honey oil, and $75,000 in cash was discovered during the investigation. 18 people were arrested on various charges, including weapons charges and marijuana-related charges.

Since the passage of Proposition 64, the legalization of recreational marijuana in the State of California, it is now legal to grow the plants provided the growers follow certain stipulations. The first is to be 21 years of age or older, and no more than 6 plants can be grown for personal use. More than six can be grown by medical patients for personal use, provided the amount is reasonable.

Industrial marijuana growing for use in medical and recreational dispensaries has its own rules and regulations as well, and they do not include stealing energy from Edison.