Raid in Shiprock finds 260,000 pot plants - Albuquerque Journal

Raid in Shiprock finds 260,000 pot plants

Marijuana plants are piled up outside of greenhouses after a federal raid of a massive growing operation in northwestern New Mexico last week. (Courtesy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office)

A multi-agency raid on a massive marijuana growing operation in Shiprock last week turned up more than 200,000 live plants, and more than 1,000 pounds of the drug portioned into smaller bags, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for New Mexico.

A U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman said that the operation is still under investigation and that he could not comment on whether anyone is facing charges.

The owner of the farms could not be reached Monday.

The raid comes after months of reporting by the Navajo Times and Searchlight New Mexico saying that the farms – which were purported to be hemp farms – were actually growing high-grade marijuana. The farms have also been the site of persistent protests by local residents and heated confrontations.

Last week, from Nov. 9 through 11, the FBI led agents from multiple state, local, tribal and federal agencies on a “marijuana eradication operation,” according to Scott Howell, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He said the raid took place on 21 farms and two residences and included 1,107 grow houses with dozens more under construction.

“During the court-authorized operation, agents eradicated approximately 260,000 live plants and processed an estimated 60,000 pounds (30 tons) of evidence,” Howell wrote in the news release. “Additionally, agents found 19 trash bags filled with fully processed marijuana – 1,000 pounds – in baggies, ready for distribution, hidden under a tarp in a grow house.”

Law enforcement leaders praised the operation, saying the amount that was seized was “astounding.”

“Through the cooperative efforts of federal, tribal, state and local law enforcement partners, we have put a stop to a massive marijuana grow operation, which was being carried out under the guise of hemp farming,” said Kyle W. Williamson, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s El Paso Division. “The persons running this marijuana operation were doing so in disregard of tribal law, the health and well-being of tribal members, and the natural resources of the Navajo Nation. We thank community members for saying something when they saw something.”

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and the chief of the Navajo Police Department also praised the operation and the cooperation between the various agencies.

“The coordinated efforts and tireless work of all involved has brought the much-needed resolution to the marijuana operations and has given the Navajo Nation citizens, as well as the surrounding communities, peace of mind,” said Chief of Police Philip Francisco of the Navajo Police Department. “This operation is a testament to the professionalism of law enforcement, who have worked diligently to ensure the safety of our communities.”

Home » News » Crime » Raid in Shiprock finds 260,000 pot plants


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
NM burger chain marks 70 years in business
ABQnews Seeker
Blake's Lotaburger will celebrate its 70th ... Blake's Lotaburger will celebrate its 70th birthday by hosting seven events at restaurants throughout the state on Saturday. Events will include deals like 70-cent ...
2
Voting machines tested before and after NM elections
ABQnews Seeker
Hand counts, machine tallies produce strikingly ... Hand counts, machine tallies produce strikingly similar results
3
Water worries
ABQnews Seeker
Ash, debris from burned trees threatens ... Ash, debris from burned trees threatens Morphy Lake
4
APS: Progress made in handling of records requests
ABQnews Seeker
District says it has hired two ... District says it has hired two new records custodians
5
'A disaster waiting to happen'
ABQnews Seeker
Experts: Climate change, policies left region's ... Experts: Climate change, policies left region's forests overgrown say region's forests overgrown
6
Man arrested in suspected gang-related homicide in May
ABQnews Seeker
Victim shot while in car at ... Victim shot while in car at In and Out off Central
7
‘Dispatch’ from 1947 offers another look at UFO incident
ABQnews Seeker
The Roswell incident has been one ... The Roswell incident has been one of the most thoroughly researched and debated mysteries in the history of the UFO phenomenon and among the ...
8
Water worries
ABQnews Seeker
Ash, debris from burned trees threaten ... Ash, debris from burned trees threaten acequias
9
Experts: US Court fractures decades of Native American law
ABQnews Seeker
Ruling a departure from federal Indian ... Ruling a departure from federal Indian law and veers from the push to increase tribes' ability to prosecute all crimes on reservations -- regardless ...