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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

300 Acre Marijuana Plantation Discovered Under Black Netting In Mexican Dessert

Sulaiman Kamal | 6:02 PM | | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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Mexican soldiers discovered the largest marijuana plantation in the country’s history, hidden under black cloth in the middle of the desert.

The 300-acre plantation is four times larger than the previous record discovery by authorities and workers had even installed toilet facilities, the Defence Department said.
The towering pot plants sheltered under black screen-cloth in a huge square on the floor of the Baja California desert, more than 150 miles south of Tijuana, across the border from San Diego.
Army general Alfonso Duarte said the screening, which is often used by regular farmers to protect crops from too much sun or heat, made it difficult to smell what was growing underneath.

It was only when soldiers on the ground reached the isolated area on Tuesday that they found thousands of pot plants as high as 2.5 meter tall.
The average height of the plants was about 1.5 yards (meters).
‘We estimate that in this area, approximately 60 people were working. When they saw the military personnel, they fled,’ Gen Duarte told reporters.
A few were later reportedly detained at a nearby roadblock, but he added no arrests were made at the scene.
He said traffickers could have harvested about 120 tons of marijuana from the plantation, worth about 1.8 billion pesos or about $160 million.
Video of the plantation showed a sophisticated system of piped-in irrigation to support the plants, which Gen Duarte said was fed by two wells.
Soldiers stand guard at the biggest marijuana plantation found in Mexico
The plantation also included some wooden outbuildings, presumably for use by people caring for the plants.
Troops will destroy the fields by burning them, Duarte said.
While it’s unknown how much of Mexican drug cartels’ income comes from marijuana, recent discoveries suggest it remains a large-scale trade.
Last October, Mexican authorities made their largest-ever seizure of marijuana packaged for sale, a record 148 tons (134 metric tons) found in a number of tractor trailers and houses in Tijuana.
They appeared to make up a major distribution center traced directly to Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, Mexico’s most-wanted fugitive, who has expanded the reach of his Sinaloa cartel along the U.S.-Mexico border since escaping from prison in 2001.
In November, U.S. and Mexican investigators found two long, sophisticated tunnels under the border between Baja California and California, along with more than 40 tons of marijuana in and around the tunnels.
The tunnels ran about 2,000 feet from Mexico to San Diego and were equipped with lighting, ventilation and a rail system for drugs to be carried on a small cart.

The biggest ever plantation in Mexico prior to this week’s discovery was in northern Chihuahua state in 1984.
U.S. officials say they believe the tunnels also were the work of the Sinaloa cartel.
While the Arellano Felix or Tijuana cartel long dominated the drug trade in Baja California, the cartel has been greatly weakened by government hits on its leadership, and authorities say there are signs that the Sinaloa cartel now also operates in the area.
Duarte said he did not know which group operated the plantation found Tuesday.

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