July 11, 2008 09:08 pm
Deputies seize 10,000 marijuana plants
One field found near Emhouse, second in city limits
By Bob Belcher
Three men remain jailed after a multi-agency drug raid Thursday turned up over 10,000 marijuana plants being grown in two different Navarro County locations.
Christobal Botello and Abel Martinez-Lopez, both of Dallas, and Guillermo Guerrero of Corsicana were arrested Thursday in an operation involving Texas National Guard helicopters flown by members of the Counter-Drug Aviation Division, and ground support from Texas Department of Public Safety Narcotics Service from Dallas, and members of the Navarro County Sheriff’s Department.
“We were contacted by DPS, and they told us they would be in the area conducting a helicopter search in Freestone County and asked if there were any areas we needed them to look at,” explained Mike Cox, chief deputy of the NCS0.
Narcotics officers went to an area near a June 24 raid that turned up 5,000 marijuana plants obtain GPS coordinates to aid in the air search of another suspected operation, when they encountered Botello and Martinez-Lopez, Cox said. The two were detained and the air search located seven different areas where marijuana plants were being grown.
Cox said a search of the area netted irrigation pumps, a generator, weapons and approximately 7,500 marijuana plants, ranging from seedlings to plants up to eight feet in height.
Botello and Martinez-Lopez, both with addresses from Dallas, were arrested at the scene and transported to the Navarro County Jail. Immigration and Custom Enforcement were contacted and they placed immigration holds on both suspects. Meanwhile Sheriff’s office deputies will be compiling the evidence and information to file formal drug possession charges with the Navarro County District Attorney’s office.
The search then moved to a wooded area behind a home on Hardy Avenue west of the railroad crossing, where another 2.500 marijuana plants were found growing. Deputies arrested Guillermo Guerrero, the resident of that house, on charges of failure to identify and possession of marijuana.
Had all of the plants been fully matured the marijuana would have an estimated street value of five million dollars, Cox said in a press release announcing the arrests.
Cox said the investigation into the finds in the searches is continuing.
Bob Belcher may be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.