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Texas marijuana fields valued at $175M

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POSTED July 29, 2014 7:58 p.m.

GOODRICH, Texas (AP) — Authorities in East Texas said Tuesday that they have cleared more than two dozen marijuana fields that were discovered over the weekend in the woods and which contained about 100,000 plants worth an estimated $175 million.

The fields near the town of Goodrich were part of a sophisticated growing operation that used water from a nearby creek to hydrate the marijuana, Chief Deputy Byron Lyons from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office told KHOU-TV in Houston.

The marijuana discovery in Polk County nearly equaled all such outdoor seizures for all of 2013 in Texas. Last year, state authorities eradicated more than 147,000 marijuana plants found during 24 outdoor seizures, said Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Tom Vinger.

A campground was also found on the site, along with Styrofoam cups that were used to nurture small plants. Hoses were used to water the larger plants.

“These guys are building trenches, pumps, set up irrigation systems,” Lyons said. “They’ve got their own little camps, tents, tent cities. It’s a pretty elaborate set up.”

Those who maintained the fields got to the property by taking the Trinity River and Long King Creek and then stayed at the location once they got there.

A deer hunter stumbled across the fields Saturday. Goodrich is about 70 miles northeast of Houston.

Authorities say one man found in the woods has been arrested. The suspect’s name has not been released.

Inmates from the county jail helped authorities pull up the plants and clear away the fields.

The discovery of the marijuana fields was a surprise to Goodrich residents.

“I was amazed,” said Lauretta Patterson. “I couldn’t believe here in Goodrich that something like that would happen.”

Officials with the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Livingston police department and Polk County constables also helped in the operation. A Department of Public Safety helicopter helped investigators spot additional fields.

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