SAN AUGUSTINE COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – A marijuana farm was shut down in East Texas back in late July through a coordinated investigation by federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.
The farm was raided on Wednesday, July 29 in San Augustine County off Forest Service Road 303. San Augustine County Sheriff Robert Cartwright said the marijuana grow site had been under investigation before the early morning raid last Wednesday morning.
Cartwright stated a DEA Special Response Team went into the site before daylight Wednesday morning to attempt to arrest two suspects who have been living at the grow site and taking care of the plants. The SRT team secured the site but the two Hispanic male suspects fled the site on foot into the thickly wooded area.
A team was dogs were sent out after one of the suspects. After an eight-hour search covering a wide area through several roads and highways, the dogs were able to apprehend the first suspect.
A Hispanic male matching the description of the second suspect was spotted by homeowners late Thursday afternoon on CR 319, about 2 miles north of Broaddus High School. Sheriff Cartwright called in TDC tracking teams and a fixed wing plane from DPS that was equipped with thermal cameras.
Dogs were also sent after him, but they were never able to pick up the scent. The plane was also not able to locate the suspect due to how heavily wooded the area was. The search for him was abandoned on Friday morning.
DEA agents and deputies with the sheriff’s office confiscated over 23,000 plants in the grow site. They were airlifted and taken to a secure site nearby where they were buried. The destruction of the plants was under the supervision of the US Forest Service, DEA and Sheriff Cartwright.
Agencies that were involved in the operation included US Fores Service, DEA Eradication team, DPS Highway Patrol, TPWD Game Wardens, San Augustine Police Department and the San Augustine County Sheriff’s Office.