It’s not uncommon to see birds flying high over the sky of rural Washington County. But what is uncommon -- is the sound and the sight -- of one bird spotted hovering over Husemann Road and Highway 105.
Around noon Friday, residents were caught off guard after finding law enforcement agencies, including a Department of Public Safety undercover agents, and a helicopter swarming a property nestled on what many say is a ‘quiet’ street.
“The DEA was working another investigation in the area and this marijuana farm came into play, so they contacted us and we did a quick fly-over to check the property,” said Washington County Sheriff’s Narcotics investigator Kyle Kokemoor. “We had a team, the DEA had a team, and the Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigation Division had a team, and so we raided the property and found over 2,500 marijuana plants growing on the property.”
Kokemoor said the land is vacant and the homeowners are believed to live out of the state.
"It's one of those pieces of property that nobody goes to,” said Kokemoor. "It's a perfect opportunity for people that find it, so called squatters, to grow their operation; that way if we do show up, they can run and have no ties to the property."
The plants were grown inside a heavily wooded area; a lightly buried PVC-pipe, believed to be the irrigation system, was also found running through an adjacent property.
"There is a small bunk house or shack on property that you can tell someone built for the sole purpose to house the people to take care of the marijuana farm," said Kokemoor. "It’s not actually a house, it's just a building that they took over."
A team of undercover agents from the DEA including the Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigation Division, or CID, spent most of the afternoon pulling the plants from the ground.
“Imagine a heavily wooded area with large marijuana plants and the plants range from three feet to eight or nine feet,” said Kokemoor. "It's most definitely a large operation for this area, and I'd say, judging by the size of the plants, it's been growing for the last four-to-six months."
The marijuana, estimated to be worth more than a million dollars, was then loaded into a U-Haul truck and taken in for investigation. Two people have been detained in connection to the operation, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Office, but they are seeking a suspect who they only describe as wearing only shorts when he was last seen.
“One man is a Washington County resident and the other is not a resident of the United States,” Kokemoor said.
News 3 spoke to the DEA’s office in Austin who said the two men were consequently arrested after being questioned about their involvement. Firearms were located on property. Both men were detained without incident.