East Texas marijuana farm busted, 3 arrested - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

East Texas marijuana farm busted, 3 arrested

Department of Public Safety Department of Public Safety
Department of Public Safety Department of Public Safety

HOPKINS COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - A large marijuana farm with ties to Mexico has been discovered and seized by Department of Public Safety agents in East Texas.

The farm was found near the Sulphur Bluff community near the Hopkins-Franklin County line.

Three people were arrested in the raid on the farm. Those arrested include: Arburto Ibarra Mateo of Ennis, Jorge Rodriguez and Jose Barrajas-Saucedo both from Mexico. The plants are estimated to be worth an estimated $2 to $3.5 million.

Shelby Harper, 80, says he had no idea such a dangerous operation was tucked away in the back part of his land.

"I guess if I would have run up on them, I would have got killed. They probably would have killed me," said Harper.

An extensive investigation led agents to track activity on the property. The pot was reportedly being taken to Dallas.

"They had four patches of it and they cut it down with a chainsaw. It was great big stuff. They said it had been growing for a long time," said Harper. "It was probably 12 foot tall. It was on

The hidden operation was elaborate, with two irrigation systems and strangers squatting on Harper's land.

"When they left, they had a big pot of stew cooking," said Harper.  

He says he's thankful he never crossed paths with the suspects.

"I fed my cows on the tractor and I was probably within 50 yards of them and I imagine they'd been watching me," said Harper.

Now, Harper says he will keep a closer watch on his property, with his shotgun in full sight.

The case has been referred to the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Texas for prosecution.

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