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Large pot-growing operation busted near Bryce Canyon

Published July 3, 2013 11:32 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Local, state and federal law officers acting on a tip have taken down a large marijuana growing operation near southern Utah's Bryce Canyon.

Garfield County Sheriff James Perkins Jr. said that along with deputies from his county and neighboring Iron County, federal Drug Enforcement, the U.S. Forest Service and Utah Department of Public Safety participated in the raid Monday evening.

Along with 2,800 plants valued at a minimum of $2.8 million, officers arrested one suspect. A second suspect fled officers and escaped in the darkness and the rugged high desert terrain.

Perkins said Wednesday that the investigation began with a tip from a "citizen who saw some plants while hiking and reported them to us about two weeks ago."

The sheriff notified DEA, and after agents confirmed the location of the operation — about 15 miles north of Bryce Canyon, and just a quarter mile away from the popular Griffin Top camp site — Monday's raid was organized.

The first suspect was arrested after an extensive chase that ended when, exhausted, he took refuge under a tree. The search for the second suspect, whose identity was known to authorities, continued on Wednesday.

remims@sltrib.com

Twitter: @remims