Hollywood Undead’s J‑Dog on the time he lost $60,000 of weed to an LA gang after a deal went bad
It all started around 2015 when I rented a warehouse in Los Angeles to grow weed inside of. This was a pretty big place, like 5,000 square feet, and when the owners asked me what I was going to use it for, I said it was for the band to store merch and equipment. I took all the money I’d made from touring at the time, and invested it into growing weed in this warehouse. It was a lot of money, around $100,000.
The whole process took about six months of non-stop work before I was in the position to harvest. Then it came time for me to use a broker to sell the weed. It all works on the black market: you find someone to be your broker, they go off and sell it and bring you the money back. The issue with that, though, is that you constantly run this risk of them getting robbed or something going wrong.
Getting into this kind of thing is always a gamble. People get robbed, grow houses burn down – it’s very dangerous. The market fluctuates a lot, too, because when there are big fires in California a lot of the outdoor-grown weed gets destroyed, but the demand is still there. Prices go up, and then more people get robbed. I know one guy who recently came from out of state to buy weed, and he got the shit beat out of him and ended up in hospital. The black market for cannabis in California is way bigger than the legal one, to the extent that I’d estimate that 80 per cent of the market is illegal. In this business, you deal with thugs on a daily basis and your deals are done behind supermarkets at night. That’s just the way it is.
So we get to the first harvest and I give 30lbs of weed to my broker – that’s roughly $60,000 in value – and she’s like, ‘I’ll have your money tomorrow.’ Everything was going perfectly, and that night I went to this Halloween party that a bunch of other bands were at. I’m dressed as a vampire just having a good time and getting shitfaced, and then I get a phone call explaining that my broker just got jacked at gunpoint by 18th Street, who are a gang based out of LA.
My first reaction is just ‘Fuck.’ I run out of the party – still dressed as a vampire – and I’m making all these calls trying to figure out who took it. I’m literally stood there in this costume while I’m calling different gangs and dealing with all this gangster shit. The result of this is that I’m $60,000 down.
It’s my understanding that my broker was set up. The way it works is that someone will say they want to buy a small amount of weed, so you go meet them and do the deal. Then, they want a little more, so you meet them again. Then, they make a really large order, you go meet up and a third party robs you – it’s all planned, but the buyer makes out like they’re not involved. That’s what I believe happened in this instance. I know plenty of people who do set ups like that, and it’s basically the case that if you get robbed while doing a weed deal, 99 per cent of the time you’ve been set up. This wasn’t the first time I’d been robbed, and it won’t be the last.
Published: December 08, 2020
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News