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Authorities Bust Marijuana Growing Operation In Northern Arizona

After two years of investigation, multiple law enforcement agencies have busted an illegal marijuana growing operation in Northern Arizona.

Working together, local, state and federal law enforcement brought down a marijuana enterprise with three large pot crops in the Happy Jack area, north of Payson. Authorities seized 180 plants and arrested three people.

Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Raul Garcia said it’s still unknown how much the plants are worth.

“Marijuana that’s grown in soil can range in value from anywhere from $400 to $600 per pound here in the Phoenix area,” he said. “As you move north and out to the east, that price begins to multiply in some cases.”

Garcia added it's important for the public to be vigilant about illegal drug activity.

“If you smell something funny, if you see certain chemicals, if something is just out of place, call 911, call your local government law enforcement,” he said, “so that we can do our job and investigate.”

Garcia said the operation, based in Flagstaff, supplied drugs across Arizona and around the country. The arrested suspects are 20 to 23 years old and face several charges, including cultivation, possession and sale of illegal drugs.

Stina Sieg was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2013 to 2018.