Law enforcement officers seized an estimated 11,100 marijuana plants in Blaine County Thursday. The illegal grow operation was on public land in the Sawtooth National Forest near Galena Summit. Several agencies were involved. The grow was first discovered by a father and son pair of hikers. That led to more than two weeks of surveillance. However, no arrests have been made.
Since July first officers have seized more than 58,000 marijuana plants from multiple grow sites in Idaho. That compares to fewer than 800 last year. Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Haws attributes that to the weather.
“Conclusion we came to was last year we had snow stay on the mountains very late, we had a late frost, and the conditions just weren’t appropriate," Haws says. "This year climate-wise the conditions were great. And so they took advantage of that and went up into the forest.”
Only one year in the past decade has seen more pot plants found in Idaho. Law enforcement agencies seized more than 77,000 plants in 2009 as part of a regional effort known as Operation PB and J.
Thursday’s raid in Blaine County was part of Operation Mountain Sweep - a two month effort in seven western states targeting large scale marijuana operations.