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San Jacinto News Times - Local News

Copyright 2014 - Polk County Publishing Company


More pot fields seized


By Brian Besch

LIVINGSTON -- A second marijuana operation was discovered in Polk County Wednesday morning at a site near Schwab City, unveiling 6,000 plants in five fields estimated at approximately $11 million. The seizure comes just 11 days after what is believed to be the largest in state history, with 100,197 cannabis plants over 29 fields valued at $175 million. A citizen who owns property on the grow site contacted authorities. The land, like last week's seizure, was on a deer lease. No suspects are in custody at this time. Many of the plants were mature and budding, with some over 10 feet in height when found on Wednesday. "The only difference is that the other had a water source that was a creek," Polk County Deputy Chief Byron Lyons said. "This had a water well that had been drilled specifically for that. They pumped out of the well to an overhead tank." Although a number has not been pinpointed, Lyons said anywhere from four to 10 suspects could have participated on the site, based on the number of tents and cots in the area. "One tent you could tell was being used for storage. It was for lime, fertilizer and different things like that to make sure they stayed dry. There was one area that had a big cover over it that had tables with cots under it." The possibility of the two busts being connected has not been ruled out because of similarities in growth procedures. However, Lyons doesn't believe that is the case. He said many of the growers will share and use similar techniques. "At this point right now, we haven't been able to come up with a clear connection that says these are tied into each other." Though there are many property owners at the site, Lyons said those who are responsible for the plants are squatting on the land. "They will have a hasn't changed, but in fact, on the inside they have set up tents, they've got irrigation systems setup, and they have sophisticated growing. Unless the places are well populated or well traveled with visitors, they can be there for months and nobody knows it for the simple fact that they try not to change the outer appearance." Law enforcement is encouraging those with large tracts of land to look for signs of unusual behavior or unauthorized people on properties. Lyons said citizens should not approach anyone and instead contact police. "You look at some people that have thousands of acres of property, for them to check that, it's a monumental task. If they will just let their neighbors or those around know if you see something suspicious, let us know. When you see somebody walking up and down the creeks toting backpacks, you know that something is not right. I understand people not wanting to confront them. That is what we are here for — call law enforcement. We will send people out; that is our job. We will investigate. It may just be a surveyor or maybe somebody from a timber company and it could be nothing. But it can also berow of trees as a tree line, go in a few feet and start chopping trees down. If you stand on the outside it looks like the scenery 100,000 plants in the woods somewhere." The deputy sheriff said the current problem is one that is widespread and that needs to be policed as much as other crimes. "I want folks to know that this is not something that is just a Polk County exclusive — it's East Texas. The one thing that Polk County is going to do is we are going to take a stand. I have heard people say that we have murderers and DWI drivers and, yes, we do. But, we've also got people who are coming in and we found weapons at both sites. These are people who have guns and at one point, may be willing to defend that $11 million grow that they have out there. So, we have to be just as diligent on the growers as the DWI drivers, the sex offenders, and the murderers."


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