Police in East Texas raided a marijuana farm with more than $1 million worth of pot in August.
The pot field, with plants as tall as 14 feet, was spread over about five acres, police said. The land is near the Sugar Land Regional Airport.
The farm was unreachable by road, and sheriff’s deputies had to use ATVs and boats to get to it. No one was at the site when deputies arrived, though two men were seen fleeing. One of them fired a pellet gun at deputies.
Neighbors said they had no idea they lived next to a pot farm.
“It makes me think about where we live differently,” said neighbor Ashley Wallace.
The bust was a major affair, neighbors said. Sheriff’s deputies and other officers raided the field from the ground and from the sky.
“Helicopters have been flying over since 9 this morning,” said nearby resident Roxie Foremoore.
The search was led by the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the Houston Police Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety. The state Department of Criminal Justice sent dogs to hunt the suspects.
Deputies said the farmers left behind evidence that they maintained a campsite near the field. When the deputies arrived, they found a radio still playing, food, clothes, soap, toiletries, and other items.
The men apparently set up a tarp for cooking and showered in the woods. They used a boat to reach the nearest store for supplies, deputies said. And they drained water for irrigation from a stream in the Red Gully.
“They pumped the water through pipes and hoses to hydrate the plants,” said Sheriff Troy Nehl.
The site went undetected for at least a few months and apparently had little noticeable impact on the surrounding community. Yet residents said the discovery worries them.
“That does scare me,” Foremoore said. “It’s Sugar Land, supposed to be safe.”
The discovery of the marijuana plants came just days after authorities made one of the largest weed busts in state history. That raid, also in East Texas, turned up about 100,000 plants in a wilderness area.
That farm contained at least 13 separate fields, each cleverly hidden in the forest. There was an elaborate irrigation system that also drained water from a nearby stream.
A hunter discovered that farm and called police. A similar campsite was found at the scene, with food, clothing, and equipment left behind. The site went unnoticed for several months at least.