Many U.S. States are passing laws banning “foreign adversaries” from certain investments within their borders.
Economic and security concerns have prompted these new regulations from North Dakota to Virginia to Florida, but new concerns are popping up in surprising places.
And New Englanders were left slack-jawed as border patrol exposed this Chinese takeover.
Maine is seeing a total Chinese takeover of one surprising industry
A federal memorandum from the Border Patrol highlights a new concern involving troubling Chinese activity on American soil.
Police say that Chinese nationals are developing illegal marijuana grow operations all across the Pine Tree State.
This all became possible after marijuana became legal in the state in 2016 and the sale of recreational marijuana became legal in 2020.
Derek Maltz, former head of the DEA’s Special Operations Division, says, “There’s no deterrence. Criminals are masters at taking advantage of the vulnerabilities.”
A bonanza for Beijing
Over 270 properties are suspected to be involved in the illegal activity.
They are operated by Chinese nationals with either resident or asylum status and could produce upwards of $4.37 billion dollars in revenue.
According to Maltz, often illegal Chinese operations involve collaboration with Mexican drug cartels.
Maltz said, “They take the cash from the cartels in America, and they buy these properties and they do these investments with cash from the Mexican cartels in our own country. This is part of their laundering scheme.”
The problem is growing — pun intended.
An illegal grow operation with 3,400 individual marijuana plants and 111 pounds of processed marijuana was uncovered recently in Bangor, Maine.
Penobscot County Sheriff Troy Morton’s office was involved in uncovering that operation.
Law-abiding pot producers left out
He said, “There are hundreds of these operations occurring throughout the state. It’s upsetting to those who live near these operations, and even those who are following Maine laws and procedures.”
It’s believed that the Chinese nationals produce marijuana to sell and they then funnel the profits back to China.
Heralded as a way to increase revenue through taxation in states where recreational marijuana is legalized, that doesn’t seem to be the case in Maine.
This new information suggests that obscene sums in revenue are instead being sent to China.
The memo states, “According to the National Drug Threat Assessment (circa 2020) — profits associated with 100 cultivated plants could produce $5.4 Million; therefore if one property produces three cycles a year at 100 plants, that one property could make $16.2 Million in revenue where the funds are likely used for other criminal activities or are sent to China.”
Morton believes the patchwork of contradictory state and federal laws adds insult to injury.
He said, “Regardless of where the individuals are from, the true problem involves conflicting state and federal laws. We also have little to no oversight, allowing for criminal activity to occur at a high degree.”
I-95 runs from Miami, Florida right through Maine and ends near New Brunswick, Canada, allowing for easy and efficient transport by smugglers.
Stay tuned to Blue State Blues for any updates to this ongoing story.