Wholesome Suburban Mom is Really a Drug ‘Queenpin’ Overseeing a Multi-Million Dollar Illegal Drug Empire in California


A marijuana growing operation spanning three facilities that were not properly permitted was discovered in San Bernardino on Wednesday and the woman who owns the properties was taken into custody, police said.

Two of the locations were large warehouse spaces while a third was a residence that had been converted into an indoor growing space, according to Lt. Mike Madden with the San Bernardino Police Department.

One of the warehouses, an old Pac-Bell property in the 600 block of North E Street, is on the same block as the back entrance to the Police Department’s D Street headquarters. The other warehouse was located in the 300 block of South Mountain View Avenue, while the converted home is on the 1600 block of North D Street.

Police began investigating the properties in July after being tipped off to the unpermitted activity by a $67,000 utility bill at the E Street location.

A team of SWAT agencies and police officers raided all three locations Wednesday morning and uncovered tens of thousands of plants, Madden said. He described the growing operations as very large and sophisticated.

Officials were in the process of removing the plants but said it would take multiple days.

All three properties are owned by Stephanie Smith, who lives in Pacific Palisades, and paid for the buildings in cash, police said. A search warrant was served at her home and she was detained pending further investigation.

Madden on Wednesday afternoon told KTLA he expected Smith to be arrested.

Eight men were also taken into custody, officers said, though it was unclear how they were related to the operation.

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