Officials still cleaning out marijuana grow site

Local law enforcement officers are still on the lookout today for men who may have escaped a massive raid on a marijuana grow-site northwest of Veyo on Saturday.  Utah’s largest-ever raid yielded 38 arrests as of late Saturday night, but Washington County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Rob Tersigni said there could be others still at large and he urged citizens not to pick up hitchhikers in or around Veyo, located 20 miles northwest of St. George.  “They could have been up there in the grove,” he said. “There’s no way to be sure.”

Sheriff’s Office deputies and members of other law enforcement agencies, including the Washington County Area Drug Task Force and Drug Enforcement Administration, were working Sunday morning to remove more marijuana plants from the area, located in remote and rugged terrain several miles from the nearest communities.  Tersigni said officials believe there could be 10,000 plants in the area, but they were unsure just how much.  Sue Thomas, supervisory special agent for the DEA, said the raid represents a major blow to the transnational organization in charge of it, believed to be a drug cartel headquartered in Mexico.

The people arrested were reportedly Mexican nationals, according to information released by the DEA.  Twenty-four of the arrests stemmed from the raid itself, with a another coming late Saturday night, but the rest were arrests made the previous day, of “upper-echelon”-level members of the organization “responsible for the management of the grows, for overseeing the harvest and deciding where the harvest would go,” Thomas said.  “They reported back directly to Mexico,” she said.
Multiple law enforcement agencies, led by the DEA and members of the Washington County Area Drug Task Force, investigated for more than a year, following leads developed during three other raids in 2010, Thomas said.  While she said she was unsure how much tangible impact the raid may have on marijuana distribution in Southern Utah, Thomas said it stops a huge amount of the illicit substance from reaching users across the country.


via : The Spectrum

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