Operation “Secret Gardens”:Marijuana Plants Worth $30.8M Seized in Italy

Police in Italy have seized $30.8 million CAD worth of marijuana plants in Vibo Valentia in Calabria, Southern Italy.

Backed by Italy’s anti-drug squad, the operation named “Secret Gardens” was executed by two hundred police officers. 

The marijuana plants were located on a plantation managed by the 30-year-old Emanuele Mancuso, son of Pantaleone Mancuso, who heads the notorious Ndrangheta clan in the Calabrian town of Limbadi. 

So far, the police have arrested Mancuso and 17 other persons, some of whom are non-European migrants. They are 21 other suspects are still on the loose. 

Tapping in

Manucuso used seeds, purchased online, to build the marijuana operation. He used drones to help him control the workers and monitor his crop.

Police have also reported that 26,000 plants were discovered in three different parts of the region.

Mancuso was trying to tap into the marijuana market, which is strictly legal for medical purposes and controlled by the army in Italy.

The army is trying their best to push back on the black market by even selling their medical marijuana at an extremely low cost, but the supply-demand is causing a major issue.

Currently, the supply coming out of the heavily guarded facility is not enough to cover the growing number of medical marijuana prescription holders.

There are now thousands of patients, who have no way of getting their marijuana supply, as many pharmacies are out of stock.