Marijuana Grows Move From Vineyards to Remote Locations on Yakama Tribal Land
NEAR WHITE SWAN, Wash-- Last year it was the vineyards, this season it's remote areas of the Yakama Reservation. Every year drug cartel grow marijuana in Yakima County and every year agents work to clear the crops and catch the crooks.
"So it appears that the tenders have been living here since the early Spring," said Lt. Richard Wiley, Cannabis Eradication Response Team.
A helicopter crew spotted the garden near White Swan. Fleeing camp, the growers left behind garbage, guns and a full irrigation system.
"We try to pick up all the garbage and all the piping as best we can," said Wiley.
The Yakima Valley is well known as an agricultural community, from apples to cherries, but it's also number one for marijuana grows.
Agents count and bundle the plants, 2,353 total. The location is so remote a helicopter lifts them out.
"I think it's making a difference, it's just that they're going to have to work harder this year to hide it and I think we'll be out there to find it again," said Chief Ken Hoptowit, Yakama Nation Tribal Police.
Fully mature the crop could be worth a quarter million dollars or more. Wiley said people can help law enforcement by reporting suspicious activity. For example, large food deliveries for people tending the marijuana crops in these rural areas.