LOS ANGELES (AP) — Authorities say they seized $1 billion worth of illegal marijuana in the largest bust in Los Angeles County history. Officials said Wednesday that the operation eradicated only a fraction of the illicit grows in the Southern California high desert that are run by armed cartel members and detrimental to the state’s legal marijuana market. A 10-day operation in the Antelope Valley last month resulted in 131 arrests and the seizure of more than 33,000 pounds of harvested marijuana plants. California broadly legalized recreational marijuana sales in January 2018, but the black market thrives. That’s partly because hefty legal marijuana taxes send consumers looking for better deals.
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