Police make $55M pot bust - KCTV5 News

Police make $55M pot bust

LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -A major drug bust in rural Lincoln County netted approximately $55 million worth of marijuana plants.

FOX5 was the only media outlet invited to document the bust made at two different sites on Tuesday morning.

The pot farms were discovered amidst the thick brush and trees on government land and is believed to be part of a multi-billion dollar operation run by the Mexican drug cartel.

"It's more than a mom and pop operation," said Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee, who spearheaded the operation. "This is sophisticated and taken a lot of work and a lot of backing, a lot of support to support these grows."

Finding the grow sites are next to impossible.

"You could walk within 25 yards of this and never know it was here," Lee said.

But when one is discovered it takes the help of several local, state and federal agencies to take it down.

About 10,000 plants were found in each site, with each plant being worth an estimated $2500 in street value.

None of the suspects were at the site at the time of the raid.

The "gardeners" live on site in tents and are supplied fresh food and gardening supplies.

A complex irrigation system is used, pumping water from springs to man made water basins.

Piping takes that water to individually water each plant.

In the last week, Lincoln County Sheriffs have raided three pot farms netting more than $80 million in product.

"Harvesting season is here upon us right now so what we get, we're gonna need to get soon because they're harvesting as we speak," Sheriff Lee said.

After harvesting the pot is transported to what is believed to be the traffic center of the operation in Las Vegas.

"The information that we've gotten is that they are actually able to package it here in the grow into to approximately one pound packages, put it in packages and take it to stash houses in Las Vegas and then work out from there," Sheriff Lee said.

Some of that marijuana ends up on the streets of Las Vegas, the rest shipped out to other cities for sale.

The confiscated pot plants are uprooted or chopped and hauled off to trailers.

Some will be kept for evidence, the rest will be destroyed and buried in a local landfill.

Lincoln County has to foot the bill for these drug bust operations in its jurisdiction but they get no financial help to do it at this time, meaning it comes out of their already minimal budget.

If you are in that area for recreation and notice anything suspicious, you're asked to call the sheriff's office right away.

CCopyright 2011 FOX5. All rights reserved.

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