Cops seize $10 million in marijuana plants during bust

March 30, 2011 3:15:20 PM PDT
15 people are under arrest in what police describe as a highly organized, high-tech marijuana operation.

$10 million worth of pot was grown inside several homes in Sullivan County.

It is high quality, high powered marijuana and this is just a fraction of what federal and local officials have seized.

Late Tuesday into Wednesday, agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office hit seven locations, not residences, grow houses.

They are homes reconfigured to cultivate thousands of hydroponic plants.

Agents had enough evidence to fill U-Haul trucks with marijuana and equipment.

16 people are under arrest and most of them are illegal immigrants.

They were arraigned in federal court in White Plains Wednesday afternoon.

Police say the men are from Central and South America did most of the dirty work: growing and harvesting the plants.

Because the houses are in secluded, rural locations it was easy to avoid detection.

Some who live in the area say they had their suspicions.

Authorities say in some houses the electric meter was bypassed to avoid suspicion about excess usage from the lights needed to grow the plants.

In others locations generators that had been soundproofed were used.

Officials say the marijuana was likely headed for New York City to be sold.