A Yakima Valley corn farmer found more than 10,000 small pot plants on his property late last week. It’s the first big outdoor marijuana bust of the year in Washington and likely not the last. Richland correspondent Anna King reports.
The marijuana had apparently been planted in the corn field within the last week. It would have been worth about $3-to-$5 million if it had grown to maturity.
Rick Beghtol is with a federally funded task force that targets drugs in Yakima County. He says the area is not only a regional nexus point for growing marijuana. It’s also a hub for international drug trafficking.
Rick Beghtol: "It lends itself well to move products, goods and products north, south, east and west. And it’s rural enough you can conceal your activities relatively well."
He says illegal pot farmers are getting more sophisticated. They often use farmer’s fields flush with irrigation water. And they grow their illicit crops in remote tribal lands and federal property.
Agents in Washington seized nearly 300,000 marijuana plants last year. The state now ranks second in outdoor growing behind California.