Eastern Idaho Marijuana Growing Operation Possibly Part Of Mexican Drug Cartel
GRACE, Idaho – (KIFI-TV) The recently discovered pot-growing operation is much larger and sophisticated than originally suspected, and may be connected to a Mexican cartel.
At a Wednesday news conference, law enforcement officials estimated there must be 40,000 marijuana plants at the site, which is 700 feet outside the Bannock County line in a hilly area near Grace Mountain in Caribou County. They have an estimated street value of $80.5 million.
The site was discovered Thursday.
According to localnews8.com, Black Hawk helicopters are using baskets to bring the pot out of the back country area and bringing it back to a staging area where it's being loaded by troops and DEA agents onto dump trucks for removal and disposal at an undisclosed location. They won't say where it's going, but say it will take at least a day to completely remove the plants.
Authorities have also recovered miles of irrigation pipe and 1,000 pounds of unused fertilizer.
Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen said it is a very sophisticated operation and he has "no doubt" it has connections to a Mexican drug cartel.
The marijuana is thriving above the 7,000-foot level, so the plants may be hybrids that do well at that elevation.