SPRING, Texas— More than 50 homes believed to be housing drug operations were raided Tuesday morning by DEA agents and local law enforcement agencies.
At least 20 people had been taken into custody by Tuesday afternoon.
The DEA believes they are part of an Asian organized crime ring responsible for dozens of marijuana grow houses across Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties. Agents have been investigating the ring for over a year.
The drug ring grows high-potency pot with sophisticated equipment and they have grow houses on both U.S. coasts.
The DEA used SWAT teams to clear each Houston-area location.
Many of the homes were in quiet, upscale neighborhoods in the $300,000 to $400,000 price range. Most are rental homes, but the tenants didn't actually live in them. Many of the suspects arrested Tuesday were found in apartment complexes.
DEA agents say they were likely stealing electricity for their grow houses, which poses a safety hazard to neighboring homes.
"When these homes are used in this way it’s a public safety hazard. Where the electricity is coming from is a public hazard," said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Anthony Scott
He said the organized crime ring investigation is far from over.
Reporter Jeff McShan will exclusive video of the raids in live reports on KHOU 11 News at 4, 5 and 6.