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Ten arrested in Washington County pot-grow bust

Published September 18, 2009 4:58 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Washington County sheriff's deputies arrested 10 people Thursday in a massive marijuana bust.

The marijuana grow was spotted in a remote area of the county near Oak Grove. Authorities had been surveying the area "for a while," said Washington County Detective Nate Abbott.

"We were aware it was there and just waited for the right time," Abbott said. "It's the time of year when they're starting to harvest a lot of this. A good portion of this grow had already been harvested previous to us moving in."

The county's drug task force, the Drug Enforcement Administration, a Washington County SWAT team, the state's Department of Public Safety, the U.S. Forest Service, a St. George SWAT team, plus Iron County, Kane County, Beaver County, Las Vegas police and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management all worked to remove more than 700 plants.

During the multi-agency, multi-day operation, authorities arrested 10 suspects in what Abbott called a "quite large operation."

Abbott noted that Washington County has a multi-agency task force that has been heavily involved in minimizing marijuana grows.

"The more numbers, the more chances we have of getting suspects in these grows," Abbott said of the participation from many law-enforcement agencies. "It paid off for us this time."

He noted that the investigation is still active, but it's unclear whether authorities are looking for more people associated with the grow or whether the bust would help authorities gather intelligence on how drug cartels operate.

"We've got our local task force, and we're working closely with the DEA," he said. "They'll be working on it to see if this goes further than here in our county."