The war on drugs is a fascinating one. We put untold millions of dollars into an operation to prevent others from making billions. The money from drugs could reignite failing economies and put food into the mouths of starving people around the globe. Putting a stop to these enterprises has unveiled some incredibly complex and lucrative operations. Here are some of the biggest.
1 Sylmar Warehouse, LA 1989
While a lot of people seem to think Miami is the country’s drug hub, the fact is Los Angeles has long been a focal point for cocaine. The biggest bust for coke of all time took place there in 1989. After looking into an anonymous tip, the ATF came down on a Sylmar warehouse that contained $10 million dollars in cash and 20 tons of cocaine, worth about $6 billion. Curiously, security consisted of a padlock that cost less than $10.
2 Police pull-over, NY 2009
Let’s not give the City of Angels all the glory. In the unassuming county of Middle Village in the Big Apple’s Queens, a simple pull-over resulted in one of history’s biggest drug raids. In 2009, the police stopped a driver with a suspended license. There was nine pounds of weed in the car. They went into the suspect’s house and found 50,000 pounds of marijuana. On the street, it was valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
3 LSD production lab, Wamego 2000
The biggest LSD raid in history took place in 2000. Believe it or not, the mastermind behind the operation was the deputy director at the University of California’s drug policy research program. He was running the operation from inside an abandoned missile silo in Wamego, KS. The DEA found a production lab with raw materials that could produce 30 pounds of LSD and 90 pounds of the drug ready to hit the streets. The lab was engineering an impressive half pound of LSD a week, enough to keep millions staring into space.
4 Porcelain storage warehouse, Hayward 1991
There’s still the granddaddy of drug raids. In 1991, a warehouse in Hayward, Cali that supposedly imported porcelain products was raided. The authorities uncovered a stash of China White heroin that was worth almost $3 billion. That’s over 1,000 pounds of smack. Only four people ended up in handcuffs for an operation that probably involved hundreds.