Investigation into multimillion dollar marijuana farm underway

By Robert Arnold - Investigative Reporter

FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas - A tip from a state game warden led Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office detectives to a huge marijuana farm not far from Sugar Land municipal airport.

While the illegal operation has been shut down, the investigation into who was in charge of setting up the marijuana farm is far from over.

Investigators said they discovered 10,000 marijuana plants being grown roughly 700 yards from airport runways. Investigators estimate the entire crop had a street value of $10 million.

Lt. Josh Dale said the farm was on public property in an area only accessible by crossing Oyster Creek.

"You could only see it from the air, you wouldn't see it from the waterway or from the parks in the area," he said. "Just hiding in plain sight."

Dale said he's not sure how long the illegal farm had been in business, but detectives have been conducting surveillance on the operation since June. Dale said during that time two men would come and go and appeared to be guarding the plants. When investigators moved in to shut down the operation the men got away.

"Heavily-wooded area, it's over 100 acres of land," said Dale. "We tried the best perimeter we could."

Dale said they did recover a pistol among the thousands of plants, which concerns Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls.

"Of course this is very dangerous when you would stumble upon something like this, very dangerous," said Nehls.

Detectives won't go into specifics, but said they do have several promising leads as to who may be behind the illicit farming operation.

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