Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

Local News

June 20, 2013

Drug patches really far out

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — Tips from two different fishermen led authorities to finding what was described as some concealed and well cultivated patches of marijuana growing in far southern Garvin County.

Both tips came from people fishing in Wild Horse Creek as county deputies here had to battle a rough terrain on foot to locate the secluded site where rows and rows of the illegal plants were being grown.

In the end one suspect was forced to run away as authorities from two agencies ultimately destroyed hundreds of marijuana plants being carefully cared for at the site.

“It was a pretty well managed cultivation with the marijuana planted in rows,” said Sheriff Larry Rhodes.

“This wasn’t any wild grow,” he said. “They turned out to be well cared for.

“These were very healthy plants that if not found would have yielded a lot of marijuana and been on the streets of Garvin County.”

The tips coming in Monday afternoon zeroed in on a site in southern Garvin County just north of state Highway 7 and a couple of hundred yards away from the well traveled Interstate 35.

Using the services of a local pilot both Rhodes and Undersheriff Jim Mullett were able to fly over and check out the area.

“We saw what we thought was growing marijuana in a clearing,” Rhodes said.

“This was a very secluded area and well hidden,” he said, adding the terrain included ravines and heavy brush.

In fact, county deputies and five agents with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, called in to help out, had to use machetes to clear the brush and even boats to get to the site.

When they finally did arrive at the site they also spotted a man leaving in a hurry.

“This area was only accessible by foot,” Rhodes said.

“When we got there we saw a subject run to the west. He fled into the woods and was able to get away. The subject was a small in stature male.”

Officers then found three patches with each covering about an acre. On them were “highly maintained” rows of marijuana plants with each one standing about 3 feet tall.

A total of 1,365 plants were collected and later destroyed on Tuesday, the sheriff said.

Evidence also found showing someone had been staying at the site to watch over and care for the marijuana plants.

Included was an irrigation system allowing for water to get to the plants.

“They had pipes and a pump running water from the creek to the marijuana plants,” Rhodes said.

“They had clearly taken a lot of time setting this up. It was quite the deal.”

Also found were things like tents, sleeping gear and cooking equipment, along with cultivation tools, fertilizer and there were even small marijuana seedlings at the site.

There was evidence that some marijuana had already been harvested from the site.

The sheriff is also quick to thank the two fishermen for getting in contact with his office.

“The two callers who contacted the sheriff’s office reporting what they saw as a marijuana operation were independent of each other,” he said.

“I want to encourage anyone seeing something suspicious to call us.”

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