Record seizure of pot plants in Texas

Fort Worth Star-TelegramDecember 7, 2010 

Texas law enforcement officials have destroyed a record number of marijuana plants for the second straight year.

Agencies seized nearly 83,000 pot plants in 2010, the most ever in Texas, said Duane Steen of the

Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigations Division.

Once again, the bulk of the plants unearthed this growing season is believed to be connected to Mexican drug cartels that, officials theorize, bring their operations into Texas to skirt heightened border security and avoid escalating gang violence in Mexico.

“I’m still amazed at what we are finding,” said Steen, a veteran drug investigator. “In the mid- to late ’80s, these were a couple of guys growing stuff. Now these organizations are doing this as a business enterprise.”

It’s a wily and lucrative business plan, he said.

“You avoid the risk of crossing the border and avoid getting killed in Mexico,” Steen said. “It’s worth millions of dollars and there’s little financial risk,” he said. “But we’re finding the farmers, not the bosses. They pay someone to tend it, water it and guard it. If you are the boss, and nobody finds it, you make a lot of money.”

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