Huge marijuana bust in Texas
GOODRICH, Texas (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Everything's big in Texas, including pot busts.
Police there are clearing thousands of illegal marijuana plants.
A sophisticated and possibly historic grow was found in Goodrich, about 70 miles northeast of Houston.
Inmates from the Polk County Jail joined over 70 officers from up to twelve different agencies.
In the July heat, they uprooted nearly every marijuana plant discovered on this massive grow operation.
An elaborate hydration system made use of a nearby creek.
"They had pumps that were set inside the creek banks and a hosing system that ran back to the fields to where they just turned the pumps on, the pumps would run through the hoses and subsequently through the fields," said Polk County Chief Deputy Byron Lyons.
A deer hunter scouting the area discovered the plants over the weekend and immediately called police.
Nearby, a makeshift campground was found littered with food, clothing, and equipment.
Officials say the growers had likely been living there for at least five months, avoiding detection by land owners and law enforcement.
"They'll go inside the overgrown area and they'll clean out a spot inside of it to where unless you're actually right inside the plant area, you won't even know it that they're there," said Lyons.
Operations like this are a growing problem in east Texas, where dealers have set up shop to avoid heightened security along the U.S.-Mexican border.
In 2012, 30,000 marijuana plants were discovered on an 800 acre property near Ollie, Texas.
So far, more than 44,000 plants have been cleared away, but an aerial search revealed the existence of up to 16 additional fields.
Once finished, the total haul could top 100,000 plants, making it one of the largest busts in Texas history.