Franklin Co. Deputies Seize Marijuana Plants from Corn Fields - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Franklin Co. Deputies Seize Marijuana Plants from Corn Field Grow Operations

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FRANKLIN COUNTY, Wash.--  Franklin County Sheriff's deputies uncovered thousands of marijuana plants this summer in illegal grow operations, right in the middle of local corn fields.

It's easy to hide among tall stalks of corn and that's why criminals like to use corn fields to hide their illegal marijuana grow operations.

But every summer, the Franklin County Sheriff's Office works to find the plants and seize them.

Deputies say growers are getting more sophisticated, planting in grids and the grows are more dense, deep in the fields.

"They're not just all in one central location. So we have to go through numerous rows to try to find and get all the marijuana that's out here so it's tedious and hard work," said Deputy Jim LeDoux.

In fact, this summer deputies seized nearly 3,500 marijuana plants. Piles of the pulled plants stack up.

Deputies say drug cartels are planning many of these grow operations and intelligence shows more of them are coming to Washington since the drug became legal for personal use last year.

"A lot of these types of marijuana grows that we find could be organized by cartels, which could be here in the United States or down in Mexico," said Detective Jason Nunez.

"In later years, it has been more organized from the drug cartels trying to make a substantial amount of money running these operations," said Franklin County Sheriff Richard Lathim.

Nunez says each plant can produce about $6,000 worth of pot.

But these plants won't make it to market, they're taken from the fields to an incinerator in Spokane.

"They try to hide it from us, but we can always still find it," LeDoux said.

This year deputies arrested one man they say is responsible for growing around 2,500 plants in a corn field.