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Decoding The JuicyFields Ponzi Scheme, One Of The Biggest Scams In Cannabis Industry

After making 9 arrests last week in a large scale operation, the police are on the hunt for more.
Cover Image Source: Unsplash | Photo by Kimzy Nanney
Cover Image Source: Unsplash | Photo by Kimzy Nanney

Two years ago, a highly sophisticated scam ravaged the global medical cannabis market. The scheme dubbed the JuicyFields Scam, which was run on the platform, duped over 186,000 investors out of nearly $688 million (€645 million), according to estimates from Europol. After numerous reports of the scam from across 35 countries including the U.K., Spain, the Dominican Republic, and the U.S. among others, an international operation was launched to nab the criminals.


As per the release, the runners of the JuicyFields scam created social media accounts, ran ad campaigns to extract investments while promising returns of over 100%.

As per Europol’s release, investors had the option to sign up for an “e-growing opportunity” with a minimum initial investment of $1.07. They were promised to be linked with medical cannabis producers who would share their profits from selling the cannabis plants.

Representative Image | Unsplash | Photo by Tim Foster
Representative Image | Unsplash | Photo by Tim Foster

While nearly 550,000 participants registered as online investors in the JuicyFields scheme, about 186,000 participants transferred funds into the elaborate ponzi scheme.

After the scam’s management and representatives disappeared, police authorities and investigators from 28 countries launched “Operation Stoner” to track down the traces of the scam.

Following a year-long investigation, nine members of the gang were arrested, as per an announcement by the Spanish National Police. On April 11, over 400 law enforcement officials carried out arrests and conducted 38 house searches, as per the announcement.


However, neither Europol nor the Spanish national police released the names of the arrested suspects. Only details such as the nationality, or function in the JuicyFields network of the suspects were shared.


The suspects were mainly of Russian, Dutch, German, Italian, Latvian, Maltese, Polish, Jordanian, American, and Venezuelan nationality. However, one Russian national is suspected to be one of the main organizers of the scam, which was allegedly run from Russia itself.

After the large-scale operation, police continued to make arrests. On April 15, a Swedish woman and her boyfriend were nabbed at Stockholm's Arlanda airport on orders from Europol and Spanish police. The two suspects were reportedly extradited to Spain, as per a DW report.


A spokesperson for Spain's Policía Nacional told DW that eight more arrest warrants have been issued against suspects in the JuicyFields case and they are ready to be executed.

The spokesperson added that the Spanish authorities were confident that the Russian national who was arrested in the Dominican Republic will also be extradited to Spain, soon. Additionally, the prosecutor's office in Berlin confirmed that "the Russian lead," was still being investigated on suspicion of the operation being run from Russia, DW reported.

After carrying out the surgical operation and large-scale raids, the police authorities froze bank accounts containing $62,459 in cash, about $123,960 worth of cryptocurrencies, and $112,981 in hard cash was recovered. However, according to Europol, the total value of seized assets was under €10 million.

Reuters reported that properties worth 2.6 billion Euros were also seized, providing some hope to the victims of getting their money back.