ELKO, Nev. — Authorities confiscated about 2,000 pot plants and arrested two people Wednesday in connection with a marijuana growing operation.
Hunters in the area found two marijuana crops Monday and authorities moved in on the site Wednesday, said Elko County Undersheriff Clair Morris.
Investigators found a handgun at one of the camps. Aerial footage showed that the two marijuana crops were spaced 200 yards from each other and bordered by a creek.
"(The suspects) had dammed up a creek up there and run the irrigation out of the dam, and then ran all the tubing down through. It was a pretty sophisticated operation," Morris said.
Elko County has rural terrain that not only attracts outdoorsmen but sometimes criminal activity.
"We're out here in the middle of nowhere," Morris said. "There are springs all over the place. All they need is water, so unfortunately they grow it out here."
Morris cautioned any hunters or those wandering outdoors to leave the scene and alert authorities if they come across a drug operation in the wilderness.
Police could not immediately identify the men because they did not speak English or have any identification. Investigators planned to use interpreters to interview the men and try and locate four other men who ran away from the scene.
However, he said, the group was likely prepared for a raid and probably had plans in place. "They could hide out for a long time," he said.
The crops were grown on federal land, which means all involved face federal charges. The street value for the plants was unknown Wednesday, but police estimated the plants would have made about 500 pounds of "finished product."
"Somebody's out a lot of money, which is good," Morris said.
Contributing: Sandra Yi