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Violence Plagues California’s Illicit Cannabis Market, Deals Gone Wrong Prove Deadly

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Illegal farming is nothing new to the Golden State, but experts suggest the scale and level of violence has changed.

After six people were found murdered in the California desert last month following a dispute involving illegal marijuana, law enforcement officials across the state are warning of dangers associated with the illicit market.

“It’s not your mom-and-pop shops, it’s all black market, big business, or the cartel organizations, criminal organizations that are doing this,” Shannon Dicus, San Bernardino sheriff, told The Epoch Times. “Or we wouldn’t be seeing the murders like [this].”

A 911 call Jan. 23 resulted in the discovery of six individuals shot to death in the high desert of eastern San Bernardino County. Police found evidence of illicit marijuana dealing at the scene of the crime, and five of the bodies were burned.

While the burning was potentially a method of covering up evidence, the sheriff said that the staging and condition of the bodies suggested the scene was meant as a warning to other would-be competitors or thieves.

“We need to realize that they’re sending a message: this is our territory,” Mr. Dicus said. “And I think that piece of it is glossed over.

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