HOUSTON—A Mexican drug cartel is suspected in a multi-million-dollar marijuana bust that investigators called the largest in Liberty County history.
They discovered the operation on Tuesday.
Investigators said it covered more than 300 acres in a wooded area near the intersection of County Roads 2050 and 2058 in the northeast part of the county.
Liberty County officials said it is the largest, most sophisticated marijuana-growing operation they’ve ever seen, but they are not saying why they believe it is linked to a Mexican drug cartel.
The operation had guard posts that were equipped to be manned 24/7, a bunk house, a kitchen and a range of other buildings.
The property was also equipped with a 20-foot-deep irrigation pond about the size of a football field, along with a mile of water supply pipes.
In all, agents from five federal agencies, the Texas DPS and Liberty County found more than 6,000 fully mature pot plants, and they were only about half done harvesting from six mature growing areas.
Liberty County officials said there were people on the property when the raid began, but no one was arrested because they escaped into the thick woods.
"It is just an unbelievable operation. We have never seen anything like that out here," said Cpt. Rex Evans with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office. "The monetary amount, just the street value, we are at over $4 million. An operation like this probably cost quite a bit of money, just to get it started, and now to keep it running, and the personnel, and the supplies and everything it takes, it is a very financially substantial operation."
The investigation continued into the night Tuesday, as officials harvested plants using night vision equipment and loaded the marijuana into tractor-trailer containers.
The Federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms was also on the scene, because sources said explosives were found on the property. Federal officials did not confirm exactly what kind of explosives they were dealing with.