Butler County deputies find marijuana grow operation worth $1.7+ million

Crime

EL DORADO, Kan. (KSNW) – The Butler County Sheriff’s office says deputies discovered a marijuana farm with more than 1,700 cultivated plants worth more than $1.7 million.

On Sunday, deputies responded to the 5000 block of Northwest Highway 77 north of El Dorado for a report of a residential burglary. Deputies say the burglary suspect fled on foot when they arrived.

The suspect ran into a field with trees about a mile north of the burglary address. While deputies searched for the suspect, two men were found a couple of a hundred yards west of the highway near a waterway. Those men then ran away from deputies, but one was eventually captured.

That man’s capture led deputies to a nearby cultivated marijuana field.

Deputies say they gathered evidence that indicated many people stayed on site “around the clock tending to the crops.” At the time, they estimated more than a thousand plants.

On Monday, deputies, Kansas Bureau of Investigation agents and Kansas Highway Patrol troopers entered the property and seized more than 1,700 cultivated marijuana plants. They also found a camp site with tents, air mattresses, sleeping bags, hygiene products, a cooking area, generators and water pumps used to irrigate the marijuana plants.

Deputies said the people involved in this grow operation were there for an extended period of time. Even their trash was properly bagged up into a pile.

October is the month most marijuana crops are harvested. Had this crop been harvested at its full potential, the street value would have been more than $1.7 million, authorities estimated.

The investigation is ongoing.

The suspected burglar who inadvertently led deputies to this marijuana grow was later found and arrested.

The sheriff’s office advised landowners in Butler County to contact deputies if they see something that seems out of place or suspicious.

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