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Pot luck! $2 mn marijuana farm found by Texas rancher on federal land he leased

Published time: July 05, 2014 14:30
AFP Photo / Pablo Porciuncula

AFP Photo / Pablo Porciuncula

It’s perhaps the last thing you’d expect to find on the federal land you’re leasing – but a rancher in Texas has discovered a $2 million pot farm while surveying his territory.

On Tuesday morning, a Texas rancher who was leasing land from the US Army Corps of Engineers was inspecting the property when he saw two men camping in a clearing. They escaped, and the rancher called the local sheriff’s office.

Deputies found 5,500 marijuana plants in various stages of growth on the land, and estimated their street value at $2 million.

The farm was reportedly set up in such a way that the plants would get maximum sunlight, and had a watering system.

“The most impressive thing of it was that it was a pretty elaborate growing operation,” Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne said.

"There's no doubt they understood the principles of what it was going to take to create a watering system [and] the environment that they needed to have so as to start the marijuana plants from a seedling," he told ABC.

“This illegal activity from the setup of the camp appeared to have been in operation for some time,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

When the two men fled the camp site, they left behind food, toiletries, and clothes, said Deputy Dan Houghton, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office.

It has been reported that the rancher recently acquired the property.

No one at the US Army Corps of Engineers was immediately available for comment, the channel added.