Tuesday, July 19, 2011
$4 million worth of marijuana plants have been destroyed after a massive pot bust in Harper County. Early Tuesday morning, dozens of officers moved into the rural area near Danville in Harper County to shut down a massive marijuana growing operation.
The plants were hidden behind a thick tree line, and bordered on the other side by a river. Authorities believe they had been growing there since last spring.
"I can't believe this happened in Harper County and nobody knew about it," said someone close to the situation who asked to remain anonymous for safety reasons. "It is a shock to the community I'm sure."
It was even surprising to authorities after someone tipped them off about suspicious activity and they sent up a plane to confirm the operation. Then, very early Tuesday morning, 30 officers from nine organizations moved in, armed, to take it down. They were able to destroy the plants but they say it appears those growing the marijuana had just left the site.
"We could tell from going in that we had just missed finding them in there," said Harper County Sheriff Brad Moore.
Sheriff Moore says it appears those behind the operation were actually living on the site. Authorities found a tent, food items, and freshly watered plants.
"We've been watching it and we were afraid if they got wind we were coming or something like that that they would disappear," said Moore.
And they do appear to have disappeared, according to authorities. The suspects apparently left everything behind including four hand-dug wells most likely used to water the marijuana. In street value, the plants were worth around $4 million before authorities destroyed and buried them.
"We were lucky enough at least to deny somebody the opportunity to harvest that. That was our big win I guess today," said Moore.
As for catching the suspects, there are no leads. There was, however, some evidence someone funding the operation hired people, possibly from Mexico, to grow the plants.
The Sheriff says if anyone suspects similar suspicious activity they should NOT confront anyone, but rather contact authorities.
A tip led Harper County authorities to a large marijuana grow operation early Tuesday morning.
The sheriff's department, working along with other agencies, searched and found the plants in an area north of Danville shortly after 5 a.m.
They recovered and destroyed approximately 4,000 marijuana plans with an estimated street value of $4 million.
Deputies are investigating who is responsible for the planting and care given to the marijuana. No arrests have been made.