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Marijuana operation found near popular camping area

Published: Tuesday, July 2 2013 5:10 p.m. MDT

Approximately 2,800 marijuana plants were seized Monday near a popular camping area near Bryce Canyon.

Stace Hall, Deseret News

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BRYCE CANYON — Approximately 2,800 marijuana plants were seized Monday near a popular camping area.

The Garfield County Sheriff's Office said the plants were found about a quarter-mile away from a camping spot on Griffin Mountain, about 15 miles north of Bryce Canyon.

Officers from the Iron, Garfield and Beaver county task forces, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Forest Service and the Department of Public Safety were planning to conduct a surveillance mission Monday after receiving a tip from a resident. But while hiking to the area where the plants were believed to be, they ran into the suspect, said Garfield County Sheriff's spokeswoman Cheryl Church.

Officers chased the man through the rocky and wooded terrain in what they described as an "exhausting" pursuit. Church said they temporarily lost the man but found him a short time later, injured and hiding under a tree.

Nester Obregon Perez was treated at a local hospital for minor injuries before being booked into jail.

The marijuana plants that were seized were not very big, Church said. But if they had all been allowed to grow to full maturity, they would have had an estimated street value of $2.8 million, she said.

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