|Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Copyright 2012 - Polk County Publishing Company
Record marijuana harvest off FM 942
LEGGETT – More than 100 law enforcement officers from federal, state and local agencies executed a search warrant signed by Federal Magistrate Judge Keith F. Giblin on eight fields encompassing 800 acres located along Big Sandy Creek off FM 942 in an operation that began at 6 a.m. Thursday. Joining the Polk County Sheriff’s Office were Houston DEA agents, a fl...ight team from DEA’s Conroe office, a National Guard flight team, two DPS flight crews, DPS Criminal Investigation Division-Narcotics from Conroe and Lufkin, Texas Rangers, Texas National Guard, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Livingston Police Department, Pct. 2 and 3 Constables, Pct. 3 and 4 Commissioners, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Polk County Department of Emergency Management, Americare EMS, Texas Forest Service and DPS-Livingston and Austin. A total of 30,300 plants averaging six feet in height were seized according to a joint statement issued by Polk County Sheriff Kenneth Hammack and Special Agent Chris Wells with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s Houston office. Both Hammack and Wells said it was the largest harvest they had ever made. Forest service crews plowed roads to give officers access to many of the grow sites by ATV, but some of the plants still had to be ferried back to the command post by helicopter. The operation began in June when PCSO received information from a local resident who noticed spotted what they believed to be illegal plants while fishing at Big Sandy Creek. The Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the local DPS-Highway Patrol went to the location in the Ollie Loop Community off FM 942 East and discovered a large amount of marijuana growing. “Because of the amount of marijuana growing, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office called for assistance from the Texas Ranger Ron Duff and the DPS Special Response Team led by Ranger Joe Haralson,” Hammack said. The multi-agency group developed a plan of action to identify the persons responsible for the growing operation and throughout the ensuing three-month investigation; the area was under surveillance by a numerous cameras as well as officers in the area. Throughout this phase assistance was also provided by the Texas Rangers, DEA Houston, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office in Lufkin, the Polk County District Attorney’s Office. On Aug. 3 the decision was made to harvest the marijuana. A number of the plants will be sent to the Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Lab and the remaining plants will be destroyed by order of a district court.