UPDATED July 16, 2011 5:45 p.m.
VEYO – Officers with the Washington County Area Drug Task Force, Drug Enforcement Administration, Washington County Sheriff, and several other local law enforcement agencies* are looking for approximately three men who ran during a large drug raid today.
Sheriff Cory Pulsipher said officers arrested several people last night and another 20 or so today after taking down a large marijuana grow in the Veyo area.
Sgt. Johnny Heppler later said that thirty-seven individuals are in custody related to this particular grow site. They were apprehended without incident, arrested, and booked into the Washington County Jail.
Pulsipher said the people in Veyo may be scared as the SWAT team was on scene and a helicopter landed on the grass of a local church.
Pulsipher said residents need to be careful and not pick up hitchhikers. Members of the community are urged to report any suspicious activity to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office (contact information provided below).
He said no weapons have been found at the grow so far.
Heppler said that the investigation into this matter culminated today, July 16, with the execution of an operation in Cove Wash located northwest of Veyo, near General Steam Road where marijuana was being cultivated by a Mexican drug trafficking organization.
Evidence was obtained indicating this marijuana grow is related to at least three marijuana grow operations taken down in 2010, according to Heppler.
Numerous subjects were encountered and apprehended inside the grow. The subjects were identified as Mexican nationals and are suspected to be affiliated with a transnational drug trafficking organization with operations based out of southern California and Nevada.
The Utah Department of Public Safety’s helicopter was a crucial tool in the safe apprehension of the individuals in the grow and in assisting in slinging the marijuana out of the site for disposal.
The definitive number of marijuana plants is unavailable at this time as this operation is ongoing.
*Approximately 70 law enforcement officials participated in the operation from multiple agencies and jurisdictions including: Washington County Area Task Force, Drug Enforcement Administration, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George Police Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, US Forest Service, Utah Department of Public Safety, DEA Metro Task Force, Kane County Sheriff’s Office, Fredonia Marshal’s Office, and Washington County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue.
Any information concerning this matter is asked to be directed to the following:
Lieutenant Rob Tersigni Sue Thomas
Investigations Lieutenant Supervisory Special Agent
Washington County Sheriff’s Office Drug Enforcement Administration
435-467-2860 cell 801-330-4508 cell
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