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(USA) Police finish confiscating 3,000 marijuana plants near Horse Lake

TOWNSHIP 37, Maine — Federal, state and local law enforcement officers have finished confiscating nearly 3,000 marijuana plants that were discovered late last week in a remote area of Washington County, but as of Sunday they were no closer to making any arrests.

Maine game wardens and drug enforcement agents first arrived last Monday to an area near Horse Lake in Township 37 after Maine State Police received an anonymous tip on its Web site. Agents made contact with someone on the property but did not immediately gain access. On Tuesday, wardens flew over the property and discovered one of the most extensive and sophisticated marijuana growing operations in the state’s history.

By the time law enforcement agents reached the expansive property late Tuesday, the suspected growers had set fire to a number of small buildings described as bunkhouses and then fled.

Wednesday was spent collecting evidence, and Thursday and Friday were spent destroying most of the 2,943 plants on-site. Some were kept as evidence. Maine Drug Enforcement Agency Director Roy McKinney said his office typically estimates each plant is worth $2,000 but said the plants discovered last week could fetch up to $3,000. That puts the total value of plants seized between $6 million and $9 million. Early estimates had been much higher.

McKinney confirmed late last week that the land in question was believed to be a West Coast-style marijuana plantation with on-site growers tending crops constantly.

Authorities have identified the property owner but are not releasing that information, according to state police spokesman Stephen McCausland.

The tree- and swamp-covered area is accessible only by dirt roads off the Stud Mill Road several miles north of Route 9.

Although no arrests have been made in connection with the marijuana seizure, McKinney said agents are pursuing several leads.

By Eric Russell

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