Stephanie Smith, a suburban California mother from the upscale neighborhood of Pacific Palisades, was operating a massive pot growing operation
Described as a drugs ‘Queenpin’, 43-year-old Smith was behind vast weed ‘fortress’ netting millions monthly, in downtown San Bernardino
She reportedly hid in plain sight living busted ‘a lavish lifestyle’ as a respected mom in the upscale neighborhood
San Bernardino Police raided three properties owned by Stephanie Smith Wednesday including an ’empty’ warehouse that was part of an operation with over 24,000 plants
Industrial scale operation was ‘sophisticated – like a “weed fortress” with fortified doors, a large 12ft metal fence, and surveillance cameras’
Receiving complaints from neighbors about the warehouse, authorities became increasingly interested in the property when the ’empty’ warehouse racked up an energy bill of $67,000 per month
Eight people working in the warehouse were detained, but no charges have been filed
Questioned Tuesday, Smith was not arrested
Faces a misdemeanor charge, jail time and a fine, if charges are filed
California legalized sale of medical marijuana,with recreational pot sales starting in California Jan 1, but growers must receive licenses and permits from state and local govts
Alleged Drug ‘queenpin’ Stephanie Smith, had three properties running industrial scale pot grows raided by the San Bernardino Police Wednesday
A mother from an upscale California neighborhood is being questioned by authorities for a pot growing operation that included over 24,000 plants.
San Bernardino police raided properties belonging to alleged drug queen-pin, Stephanie Smith, 43, Wednesday, after detectives investigated a tip about pot being grown in an empty warehouse.
When they raided the property they realized they were dealing with a multi-building operation, with the main warehouse likened to a ‘weed fortress.’
Investigators first turned their sights on the illegal grow operation about two months ago after receiving complaints from neighbors.
The warehouse that the growing operation was being run out of had 12-foot high fences, fortified doors and surveillance cameras.
They became increasingly interested in the property when the main building, an ’empty’ warehouse, had an electric bill that was about $67,000 per month.
Police say the industrial scale pot grow in downtown San Bernardino, Calif., [photo], netted millions in profits each month.
Inside the four-story warehouse, police found thousands of plants stacked next to one another under heat lamps on wood tables and an advanced irrigation system.
‘In my 26 years, it was the biggest grow that I’ve ever seen,’ San Bernardino police Lt. Mike Madden said.
‘There were all different rooms for different processes and hydration, filtration and ventilation. It was pretty extensive.’
Police and federal investigators raided three properties owned by Smith of Pacific Palisades, and seized 18,000 pounds of marijuana in total.
Police and federal investigators raided two other properties owned by Smith and seized 18,000 pounds of marijuana in total. Eight people who were working in the warehouse in downtown San Bernardino were detained by police, but no charges have been filed in the case.
Investigators are still trying to determine where the marijuana was being sold, Madden said.
Police were investigating the 43-year-old mother and owner of the properties, but she was not arrested or charged with a crime.
Stephanie Smith’s massive marijuana growing operation was ended after police raided Smith’s properties
California voters have approved the legalization of marijuana, but growers must receive licenses and permits from local governments and the state. Recreational pot sales start in California on Jan. 1, joining the long-running medical cannabis industry.
‘Marijuana has been legalized, but there are stringent requirements,’ Madden said. ‘It’s not that you just get to set up shop where you want to set up.’
A red ‘Unsafe’ sign has since been placed on the building.
Smith was reportedly questioned Tuesday, but was not arrested.
If charges are filed, she faces a misdemeanor, jail time and a fine at the state level.