Raid yields 40,000 pot plants on reservation
In one of the biggest marijuana raids ever reported in Washington state, drug investigators said they seized about 40,000 pot plants in...
YAKIMA — In one of the biggest marijuana raids ever reported in Washington state, drug investigators said they seized about 40,000 pot plants in a closed area of the Yakama Indian Reservation.
The marijuana farm was spotted Wednesday from a helicopter during one of a number of pot-spotting flights that are made in the summer and early fall with choppers from the Drug Enforcement Administration and National Guard, said Lt. Richard A. Wiley of the State Patrol.
Wiley did not give an estimated value for the haul but said high-quality marijuana is worth about $2,000 a pound and a good plant has about a pound of pot, which could make the confiscated marijuana worth as much as $80 million.
The discovery boosted the total amount of marijuana seized in about a week and a half of the helicopter operations to nearly 80,000 plants in Yakima, Klickitat, Benton and Skamania counties.
In the wake of the year's largest previous haul, 11,000 plants, also on the Yakama reservation, Wiley said it was "Mexican drug-trafficking organizations growing out there and not members of the tribe." Tribal leaders "are working very hard to get this activity off their lands," he said.
Similar aerial sweeps in 2004 resulted in the discovery and destruction of 65,000 marijuana plants in a growing operation near Satus Pass. At the time, authorities estimated that haul to be worth $35 million.
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
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