Seven fatally shot in California at illegal marijuana farm

Police found more than 1,000 pounds of processed marijuana at the illegal farm and no identified suspects of the shooting

A cannabis plant
A cannabis plant
(Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Updated: September 9, 2020 - 6:26pm

Seven people were fatally shot Monday at a Southern California compound that investigators say was a “large-scale illegal marijuana processing center.”

Police originally arrived at the compound in response to reports of an assault with a deadly weapon, in the small town of Aguanga.

Officers found six people shot dead on the scene and one woman suffering from bullet wounds who later died at the hospital. 

Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco also reported finding hundreds of plants, a greenhouse, a lab for extracting THC and more than 1,000 pounds of processed marijuana worth millions of dollars. 

The farm was being used to process marijuana into honey oil, a highly potent concentrate with THC extracted from the plants. Although California broadly legalized recreational marijuana sales in 2018, the legal market forces people to pay heavy taxes, driving consumers to cheaper, illegal options. 

Bianco also said more than 20 people were living on the property, which included a house, a trailer and other makeshift dwellings. The victims were found “in or around” one of the structures and authorities say the undisclosed individuals were all Laotian. 

“This was not a small operation,” Bianco said. “This is a very organized-crime type of an operation.”

Large-scale growing operations attract criminals with the substantial amount of money in the business.

The sheriffs statement recognized the event as “an isolated incident,” although no arrests or identified suspects have been named. The FBI has been requested to help assist with the investigation as evidence suggests ties to different states. 

“We believe at this time that there were multiple suspects,” Bianco said. “We are still processing the scene, we are still processing our witnesses."

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