MCSO: 500 pot plants seized in illegal growing operation

Maricopa County Sheriff's Deputies say they have busted up an illegal marijuana distribution organization across the valley.

Deputies raided a nail salon, several businesses, and homes.

Sheriff's investigators have been working the case for the past seven months, ending with a raid on eight different raids across the valley from Anthem to South Phoenix.

MCSO says they seized more than 1,400 marijuana plants, most of them grown at the South Phoenix location.

Sheriff's deputies say they are looking for eight more suspects.

"It is a rather sophisticated operation when you look at it, with a cell phone and business people calling and ordering the marijuana," said Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

The Sheriff said this was an internet-based distribution ring. The suspects ran two websites where customers could shop for and order marijuana. Drivers would then deliver the marijuana directly to the customers door.

Undercover investigators were among the many customers.

"Whether you believe it should be legalized or not, that is not the point, this is illegal. They sold to many, many customers making big bucks off this illicit operation," said Arpaio.

Deputies also served a search warrant on a nail salon in Anthem. MCSO says the suspects used legitimate business to launder drug money.

The locally-grown seized pot was considered high-grade, and it's worth millions of dollars.

Also recovered during the bus were cash, eight vehicles, a boat, eight guns including an AR-15 assault rifle, pistols, bolt-action rifles, and two shotguns.

More than 50 deputies executed the search warrants at the eight locations. Those taken into custody in connection with the drug bust will be facing state charges. 

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