DEA officers and Washington County, Utah narcotics officers have discovered a massive outdoor marijuana grow that is now being linked to Mexican drug cartel La Familia.
The raid began early yesterday morning, and officers found an estimated 2,000 to 6,000 marijuana plants, some growing over 12 feet tall. Marijuana plants spanned 10 acres. The illegal grow was located near Virgin River Gorge, about four miles away from Interstate 15.
Officers had to hike 4 hours through rough and overgrown terrain to reach the grow site, which was initially spotted by helicopter. DEA spokeswoman Sue Thomas said, “It was a horrible hike getting in here. Just horrific terrain and at one point waist-deep water. It was so rugged we were surprised no one broke a leg.”
Ironically, the piece of evidence tying the grow to La Familia is a cut-off leg cast with the word “Michoacan” written on it next to a drawing of an AK-47. The art work links to the cartel’s location and iconography.
The site was abandoned when officers arrived. Thomas explained that, “It looks like the site was abandoned about a week and a half ago. We don’t know why, if they ran out of water or got spooked by planes flying overhead or what.”
According to Washington County Sheriff Cory Pulsipher, officials had known about the grow site for three years, but they were previously unable to locate it.