(Not so) smooth criminals
A crop of marijuana plants worth an estimated $1.7 million was found with a camp site when Kansas sheriff’s deputies chased a burglary suspect into a field.
The illegal plants were seized on Monday after the Butler County Sheriff’s Office found them Sunday, the agency said in a news release.
Deputies were originally called to investigate a home burglary in the 5000 block of Northwest Highway 77, north of El Dorado, Undersheriff Tony Wilhite said. A burglary suspect ran into a field with trees when the deputies arrived. As the deputies searched for the suspect, two other people were seen west of the highway near a waterway. The pair ran away.
One of the people was captured, leading deputies to discover a cultivated marijuana field, Wilhite said.
“Evidence at the scene indicated this was a marijuana grow which had numerous persons staying there around the clock tending to the crops,” he said. “There was an estimate of over a thousand marijuana plants discovered.”
The sheriff’s office returned the next day with Kansas Highway Patrol troopers and Kansas Bureau of Investigation agents and seized more than 1,700 cultivated marijuana plants.
“There was a camp site with tents, air mattresses, sleeping bags, hygiene products, and a cooking area discovered,” Wilhite said. “Also discovered were generators and water pumps used to irrigate the marijuana plants. It is estimated that if the crop had been harvested at its full potential, the street value would have been in excess of 1.7 million dollars.”
The sheriff’s office said the suspected burglar was later found and arrested. The investigation into the illegal crops is ongoing.
The agency asked landowners in Butler County to call law enforcement if they see something suspicious.
“If you see something that seems out of place or suspicious, please don’t hesitate to contact our office and have a Deputy come check it out,” the release said. “The person(s) involved in this grow operation were there for an extended period of time. October is the month most of the crops are harvested so please be vigilant and report any suspicious activity.”