HOUSTON -- A Mexican drug cartel is suspected in a multimillion dollar marijuana bust that was called the largest in Liberty County history on Tuesday evening.
Investigators said the operation covers more than 300 acres and is located in the woods near the intersection of County Roads 2050 and 2058 in the northeast part of the county.
Liberty County officials said it is the largest, most sophisticated marijuana growing operation they've ever seen, but they are not saying why they believe it is linked to a Mexican drug cartel operation.
The operation contained guard posts that were equipped to be manned 24/7, a bunk house, a kitchen and a range of other buildings.
In all, agents from five federal agencies, Texas DPS and Liberty County found more than 6,000 fully mature pot plants, and they were only about half done harvesting from six mature growing areas.
Liberty county officials said there were people on the property when the raid began, but no one was arrested because they escaped into the thick woods.
"It is just an unbelievable operation. We have never seen anything like that out here," said Cpt. Rex Evans with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office. "The monetary amount, just the street value, we are at over $4 million. An operation like this probably cost quite a bit of money, just to get it started, and now to keep it running, and the personnel, and the supplies and everything it takes, it is a very financially substantial operation."
The investigation continued into the night Tuesday with harvesting using night vision equipment and loading all the pot into tractor trailer containers.
The Federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms was also on the scene because sources said explosives were also found on the property.
In some cartel drug operations, there had been booby traps in some areas. Federal officials would not confirm exactly what explosives they were dealing with, but local investigators said they were seeing that also.
There was no drought on the property; it was equipped with a 20-feet deep irrigation pond about the size of a football field, along with a mile of water supply pipes.