CJNG: Hydroponic Marijuana Big Business in BC

Latin America World

Yaqui for Borderland Beat from: Zeta

The cultivation and harvest of cannabis in greenhouses has been adopted by organized crime groups. 

The Jalisco New Generation Cartel grows its business although methamphetamines give them a bigger profit margin. In Baja California, seizures of this type in Ensenada and Tijuana have become more frequent. To date, 22 Colombians are in prison after being detained in 2015 in the largest greenhouse.

Mexican drug cartels have ventured into the improved marijuana market and, along with their shipments of cocaine and methamphetamine to the north, they continue to produce grass in places with better climatic and nutrient conditions than the usual scenarios of the nature.

US anti-drug reports and federal reports in Mexico warn about the expansion of this type of crop called indoor (inside), very common in countries such as Colombia and Spain for wholesale or retail trade. In Mexico, small plantations had been observed in houses or apartments since the year 2000, however, now there is talk of large plantations under shade and in areas with façades of agricultural farms.

Just on June 16, federal authorities discovered a greenhouse with almost  1,000 plants of the hydroponic enervant during a search warrant executed in a building in Colonia Ampliación Baja California, in the San Quintín delegation, municipality of Ensenada, without any arrests being made. 

In addition to the 969 plants, elements of the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic (FGR) located in the place attachments, tools and drip irrigation for the planting, cultivation and harvesting of the drug, a box with about 400 grams of leaves of the same narcotic, two motor vehicles and a trailer .

On May 17, 2018, also in the Municipality of Ensenada, soldiers from the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena) found an underground greenhouse with thousands of cannabis plants in the Ejido Emiliano Zapata of the Vicente Guerrero delegation. Initially the military institution reported the arrest of two people and that there were more than 4,400 plants.

A citizen complaint put the site in the concentration of  the elements of the 67th Infantry Battalion. The property of 9,000  square meters (90 meters wide by 100 meters long) had a huge basement equipped for the hydroponic production of marijuana. There was air conditioning, electrical system, irrigation sprinklers, humidifiers, photoperiod lamps, heat extractors and chemical and agricultural products.

The military reported that the site achieved four crops per year and that the insurance was around 5.4 million pesos. Two days later, the then PGR reported that after counting the secured drug, they added only 2,094 plants, a difference of 2, 306 bushes less than those referred by the Sedena.

The breakdown was as follows: 442 marijuana plants planted in pots; 1,500 starts of the narcotic drug contained in 12 plastic trays; 152 more plants inside plastic bags. There was nothing said of the detainees.

On July 10 of last year, in an address of Colonia Real del Monte in Tijuana, elements of the Criminal Investigation Agency secured a greenhouse with at least 256 marijuana plants. The legal raid was achieved thanks to a search warrant awarded by the Special District Judge in the Accusatory Criminal Justice System of the Federal Criminal Justice Center in the State of Baja California.

On the farm, several tools and products were located to accelerate the growth of the plants, but no apprehensions were achieved, and the corresponding research/ investigative folder was started, without knowing the identity of the narco cultivators to date.

Just as these findings have been made at the border, in other parts of the Mexican Republic it has been made clear that hydroponics, commonly used by marijuana users to create their own strains or  cultures, is one of the techniques adopted by drug traffickers to produce it on a large scale as has been discovered in Jalisco, State of Mexico, Sinaloa and Durango.


Despite the great advantages of trafficking in methamphetamines, which leaves them with a greater margin of profit and that cocaine is considered the “queen” of drugs, the Jalisco Cartel Nueva Generación (CJNG), has in fact,  entered the genetically altered marijuana business.

On July 12, 2015, the largest hydroponic cultivation of the grass was discovered in the municipalities of Tlaquepaque and Tlajomulco de Zúñiga, in the Metropolitan Area of ​​Guadalajara. There were three huge white tents of white synthetic material inside a locale on the road to Rancho La Teja. The Federal Police searched the property with a search warrant.

The greenhouses were similar in size and characteristics to those that altered the landscapes of the south and Valles region of the entity for the production of berries . 25 people were arrested inside the barricaded land, 22 of them of Colombian nationality, one, Aura Marcela, a female. The woman said, and then was seconded by other narco-growers, that they were  contacted via email to work in Guadalajara for a wage in dollars.

Apparently, the majority of South Americans had experience in the process of production, modification and special growth of cannabis, among them the nicknamed “El Mono”, “El Mudito” and “El Chava”, who were under the supervision of the Mexicans: Leonardo “N”, Galdino “N”, and Rodolfo “N”.

In addition to the three buildings in which the improved enervant was grown, there was a laboratory and a huge dormitory for the staff that worked there, all in a total area of ​​6, 200 squares hectareas. The federals found in the laboratory 2,111 plants planted in unicel grids with soil,  seedlings; while at the site where the workers slept, there were four containers, two of them with a dry green vegetable and two with a brown granulated substance, apparently fertilizer.

In the #1 greenhouse, 820 plants were secured in pots; In greenhouse # 2, 2, 632 bushes of the same plant had been planted n the ground; while in greenhouse #3, there were 2,700 plants also emanating from the soil. The total weight of the drug was just over 3, 936 kilograms.

(Note: I have no idea if this is green weight or what)

A white plastic film covered the entire floor, but in the circular cuts the cannabis bushes protruded. The equipment was integrated into the hydroponic greenhouses was produced with controlled temperature and humidity, in addition to having a herbicidal film to protect crops from natural elements.

The function of white plastic on the floor had a relative control as a kind of phytosanitary product to kill plants or unwanted pests, according to experts. The chemical opinion with folio number 57332, signed by the experts of the then PGR, indicated in its conclusions that the plants located in greenhouses #1,2 and 3, as well as the laboratory, correspond to Cannabis Sativa L. , commonly known as marijuana and considered as narcotics by the General Health Law.


While the alleged narco cultivators belonging to the CJNG were interned in the maximum security prison in Puente Grande, Jalisco, where they are prosecuted for crimes against health in the modalities of growing marijuana plants and possession of the same drug for commercial purposes, and exonerated for the crime of organized crime not accredited by the Federal Public Ministry, another angle of the story became a disgrace for a family.

Obviously, the property where the drug was discovered and the narco-producers were caught in flagrante delicto, was precautionary by a prosecutor, since it was considered an instrument of the crime in the preliminary investigation PGR / SEIDO / UEIDCS / 347/2015 the Agency of the Public Ministry of the Federation attached to the Unit specialized in Investigation of Terrorism, Collection and Trafficking of Weapons (UEITA), of the Specialized Deputy Attorney’s Office for Investigation in Organized Crime (SEIDO), of the FGR.

Doña Esperanza “N”, owner of the property, went before the social representation on August 3, 2015 – as soon as she heard about the securance  – to find out about the legal status of that property and request its return. Days later she was summoned to testify. The lady revealed that she was married to farmer Raúl “N”, of whom she is a widow and with whom she had four children.

The declarant said that the land was originally about 56,000 square meters, divided into plots, which was idle. Her husband, who also founded a fodder company, told his son Raul junior to look for someone to rent the property, which he later managed to obtain, without knowing the terms in which the lease was made, until he found out by the television of the assurance.

On the other hand, Raul Jr. declared that after his father authorized him to rent the land, he spread the word among his friends and thus came a man named Abraham Israel “N”, whom a cousin  had introduced him to know five years before. The interested one commented to him that he needed the property to plant legumes and thus they signed rent agreement with validity of two years, from March 3, 2013 to August 31, 2015, for the amount of 360,000 pesos, which was covered in three payments with cash.

During the two years, the tenant was interested in acquiring the land, but in a last talk, Don Raúl “N” responded that he no longer planned to continue renting it out , since he already had another buyer. The landlord rescinded the contract and they agreed to a delivery date on July 15, 2015, but a day before the the landlord was killed when leaving his home, apparently two days after the discovery of Mexico’s largest narco-greenhouse.

To date, although Mrs. Esperanza “N” has won two writs of amparo in her struggle to recover her assets, the federal Public Ministry delays the matter and resecures the property. For its part, the tenant was expanded to an equine production ranch, where were available to the former PGR 16 horses of fine and expensive breeds.

Abraham Israel “N”, not arrested, is suspected of having to rent the real estate for the CJNG, because during the investigation, the Criminal Investigation Agency followed his person and in a search of a house in the El Mirador subdivision in Zapopan , trays of Unicel and other materials used for the production of hydroponic crops were located.


Through the internet and social networks, knowledge is widely disseminated so marijuana users can create crops for self-consumption, stressing that hydroponics is a method of artificial cultivation, but not unnatural, based on the same principles that nature has established as a pattern for life.

The texts highlight the advantages and disadvantages of cannabis greenhouses compared to sowing, cultivation and harvesting that takes place in natural areas such as plains, hills and ravines.

Among the advantages of hydroponic cultivation systems, there is better development, growth and control of plant nutrients, saving water and space, the clandestine nature of planting and cultivating at home or on covered land, less effort and cleanliness, which therefore it leads to  greater and better production.

While, as a disadvantage, it is pointed out that carelessness can be very expensive, since in nature the earth usually corrects it. Also the care of temperature and oxygen is very delicate, so the advice must be accurate. The start-up cost is also very expensive for the acquisition of equipment, seeds and chemical products. The price of the drug is more expensive than that of wild marijuana.

The cultivation of indoor cannabis has different qualities, as was noted in an securance carried out by local police in a residence in Zapopan some years ago. In the narco-greenhouse, in addition to a sophisticated hydroponic system, labels placed in the pots were found, which bore legendary names such as “Tangerine Dream”, “Panama”, “Sour Diesel”, “Black Ice”, “Armageddon Moon” and “Critical Mass “.