Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Photo Gallery: Mexican Army Destroys "El Chapo's" Marijuana Plantation

Friday, July 15, 2011 |













Friday morning, more than 200 soldiers initiated the destruction of nearly 300 acres of marijuana. Preliminary investigations indicate the plantation, with an estimated value of $160 million dollars, belonged to Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, leader of the Sinaloa Cartel
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AP

Farm workers fled the camp dinner table when Mexican soldiers on routine patrol turned up at their lush, mesh-covered oasis stretching across the harsh Baja California desert.

Two men were caught in the camp and 56 others were rounded up in the area around what the Mexican government calls the biggest marijuana plantation ever found in the country.

Officials on Friday showed reporters the sophisticated operation, which the army says popped up in less than four months.

Army officers said the vast farm just 1½ miles (2.5 kilometers) from the main federal highway in Baja California state appeared to be the work of the Sinaloa cartel. The same gang was tied to Mexico's largest bust of marijuana packaged for sale last fall and sophisticated underground border tunnels discovered in November, both also in Baja California.

No one has been charged in the raid on the huge pot farm late Tuesday. The suspected workers are still being questioned.

Two of the men said they were from Sinaloa state, headquarters of the Sinaloa cartel led by Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, Mexico's most-wanted fugitive. The farm was in remote territory of the Baja peninsula, 280 miles (450 kilometers) south of Tijuana, that is believed to be controlled by Guzman's cartel.




"There are indications that these are zones of the Sinaloa cartel," said infantry Maj. Bernardo Rafael Sanchez, spokesman for the army's second region, which covers the border states of Baja California and Sonora.

Some areas of the more than half-mile-square (kilometer-square) marijuana farm resembled a nursery, with small plants. Other parts were like mature corn fields with neat rows of forest green plants rising more than six feet to a protective mesh shielding the expanse of plants. From the air, it looks like a giant square of asphalt.

Authorities believe as many as 120 men worked the farm, living in four rudimentary, plywood buildings, including a large bunkhouse with long sleeping platforms for up to 60 people, a living room and the kitchen.

Beans, cheese and salsa sat on the dinner table nearly three days after the raid, along with CDs of Norteno music. Women's lingerie and platform heels were found in one of the smaller bedrooms. Army officials said women did not appear to have worked in the fields and may have been there for "entertainment."

The army also found prepaid telephone cards and communications antennas.

Marijuana plantations this large and sophisticate are rare in Mexico, especially in Baja California, army Brig. Gen. Gilberto Landeros said.

Pot cultivation is much more common in the Sierra Madre mountain range in northern Sonora, Durango and Sinaloa states.

Federal authorities said the Baja pot farm was nearly double the size of an operation found in Sinaloa in 2007 and four times the size of the "Bufalo" farm discovered in the border state of Chihuahua in 1984. Estimates of the size of the Bufalo plantation vary widely.

The army said that troops patrol this area of arid bushland and cactus every three to four months and that the plantation was not here just a few months ago. The operators used wells for water, and tiny irrigation hoses fed every plant. There were also discarded boxes of the herbicide Gramoxone.

"At first they thought it must have been a vegetable farm," Landeros said of the soldiers who walked onto the ranch.

Army Gen. Alfonso Duarte said traffickers could have harvested about 120 tons of marijuana from the plantation, worth about 1.8 billion pesos ($160 million).

Troops have begun destroying the operation by burning the marijuana plants. Landeros said it would take a week.

Last October, Mexican authorities made their largest-ever seizure of marijuana packaged for sale, a record 148 tons (134 metric tons) found in a number of tractor trailers and houses in Tijuana, which is across the border from San Diego.

In November in the same region, U.S. and Mexican investigators found sophisticated tunnels that ran about 2,000 feet from Mexico into California and were equipped with lighting, ventilation and a rail system for drugs to be carried on a small cart.

While the Arellano Felix or Tijuana cartel long dominated the drug trade in Baja California, the cartel has been greatly weakened by government hits on its leadership, and authorities say there are signs that the Sinaloa cartel now also operates in the area.









Photos: Milenio: Le queman la marihuana al "Chapo" (fotogalería)

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Additional reading of interest: Como ocultar un Monstruo/ el Universal

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32 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

DAMM you know all those soldiers went really stoned back home haha.

Anonymous said...

Those soldiers must be getting a nice buzz there

Anonymous said...

As usual "no arrests made"...

Anonymous said...

@July 16, 2011 6:33 AM

"As usual "no arrests made"...

Did you even read the article or let me guess you just looked at the pics? Go back and read where it clearly said "Two men were caught in the camp and 56 others were rounded up in the area around." God I'm worried about our country, bunch of illiterate people!

Anonymous said...

Dunno which is better a high ranking getting arrested or there drip feed money getting taken from them

Anonymous said...

Oh some heads gonna roll for this one

Anonymous said...

What he's pointing out is that only farmers were arested and no cartel authorities.

Anonymous said...

Yeah 10:46 I definitely agree.haha 160 million is alot of money more than 10 are gonna end up without a head.

DFL said...

THE LARGEST CROP IN MEXICOS HISTORY WAS 1000 ACRES AND WAS TAKEN FROM THE FILTY DOG RAFAEL CARO QUIENTERO IN THE MID 80S. THEY ARE FULL OF SHIT CALLING THIS 300 ACRES THE LARGEST IN HISTORY.

Anonymous said...

they "discovered it" sure, sure they did...i think they knew it was there before they started growing it..and i think since the government officials felt cheated with their cut, they decided to "find" the plantation...

Anonymous said...

The filthy dog Rafael Quintero haha what haha thats pretty funny. Whats wrong with el número uno DFL? Haha actually he's a legend in Mexico,sinaloa,Sonora.Ooh let me guess the fact that he killed a crooked DEA agent haha camarena haha there's a reason why that idiot died don't you think DFL?

Anonymous said...

@12:39pm Once again Calderon exaggerating about his so called brilliant idea,war on drugs.He always makes it look bigger then it really is.Why couldn't he say it was the second biggest marijuana plantation found in Mexico ,i mean it still catches the publics eye.

Anonymous said...

@DFL

Sorry to burst your bubble DFL. But that seizure you mention was only 105 acres and that was in 1984 they didn't have the technology we have now. Second whats wrong with it being the biggest in history? Oh wait let me guess, your hero Enrique Camarena can't claim that title anymore?

@July 16, 2011 11:24 AM

You actually think those cartel authorities or leaders are going to be living in those shitty conditions? Hell NO!

DFL said...

@1:58 pm

Your Legend is rotten away in a prison in Mexico because of the American Hero Enrique Camarena. He destroyed his and and his Homosexual lover Miguel Felix Gallardo dope empire and now both are bitches who get on thier knees for all to have thier way with within those tall prison walls. lolol!!
Kiki died as a Proud American serving his beloved country as a solider in the drug wars. What have you ever done, you fucking asswipe?? You get Food Stamps and use our resources like a thief, so fuck you puto- you're nothing but a little soap opera cartel groupie whos junior high opinions are comical because of thier stupidity!!!
I can smell you from here punk, no high school education, ex convict, a twelve pack a night, unemployed welfare recipeant who is to lazy to find work to support your 9 kids- just a fucking loser!!!

DFL said...

Will the mexican Police first cut the buds from the plants then burn the leaves for show like they normally do?
Probably so. A bust like this earns them allot of American support (cash) and also thanks from El Chapo for not burning the crops before grabbing his Buds. The Mexicans play boyh sides in the game!!

Anonymous said...

All I know is that DFLs American hero Enrique camarena ,is dead, rotting in hell for all the things he did.and what about caro quintero ooh he's chillin inside prison partying it up.Poor DFL admit it your embarrassing so called hero got involved with the wrong person. Why would anyone wanna fuck with caro Quintero at his prime!That enrique guy was a real idiot who thought his DEA sign in his uniform would protect him haha well we saw that it didn't. The lesson here is don't be a crooked DEA agent.Haha

Anonymous said...

@DFL

Kiki Camarena died and died for what? What did he accomplish? Nothing. The drug war continues with no end in sight. "And what have you ever done, you fucking asswipe?" Second where do you get this information "Will the mexican Police first cut the buds from the plants then burn the leaves for show like they normally do?" Please enlighten us? You genius!

Anonymous said...

2:51

Camarena was from Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico my friend.

Anonymous said...

YouR a funny guyDFL. Admit it dude that camarena guy was probably working for another cartel in Mexico and guess what número UNO found out and bamm next thing you know camarenas dead.What makes you think he lives in those conditions in prision?if chapo who at the time he got locked up and was in prison was nowhere near as big,rich and Powerful as caro Quintero got a nice welcome to prison and got everything he wanted I'm pretty sure quinteros doing the same thing right now.

DFL said...

@11:24
sorry dickhead but it was over 1000 acres and 12,000,000lb worth of Meican bunk weed. The largest sizeure in history to this date

Anonymous said...

"CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG"........THIS IS A BLOG FOR INFORMATION, NOT A DAMN PISSING CONTEST. AS THE SAYING GOES .......SNITCHING, GIVES YOU STICHES.....ITS SAD THAT THE DEA AGENT GOT KILLED, BUT IN THIS CASE, IT CAME WITH THE JOB......AS FOR THE BUST,IN TERMNS OF MONEY THIS WAS THE BIGGEST EVER, DUE TO THE FACT THAT THIS WEED WAS OF A BETTER QUALITY.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be easier to just pump the irrigation system with gas or diesel and just burn the whole plantation instead of taking down one plant by plant and setting it in a pile to burn?

Anonymous said...

Rafael Quintero "living it up" in jail? Are you guys high? So what he gets to drink booze and screw hookers and thats "living it up" to you? Every loser in mexico can drink and screw hookers and they dont have to be locked up. Rafael Quintero has been living behind a wall for the last 25 years. I dont care if he has a 60" inch plasma and a golden toilet seat, he cant even walk outside except on the yard. He owns nothing that he cant have smuggled in. Things that you'd find in your average american household he smuggles into jail and we are supposed to consider that "living it up"? Pablo escobar built his own prison so he could do what exactly? play soccer during the day and drink at night? I'd rather be working the grill at mcdonalds and be a free man than be a drug lord in prison. im sure after 25 years behind bars quintero is god damn miserable.

Anonymous said...

What a wast

Anonymous said...

What makes you think Rafael caro quintero can't leave prison and come back later??I mean if 59 ppl escaped prison in Nuevo leon that really are lowlifes compared to caro quintero.It's Mexico with money Anything is possible,Anything.

Anonymous said...

..if that man (Rafael) had so much money and power, why not leave prison altogether????
...The People that are glorified, are just that, people, who some day are going to die, and what's left is their legacy..Truth is, it's much harder to be a GOOD GUY, THAN SOME SCUM bag whose only interests, were his..

DFL said...

Miguel Felexs family recently filed complaints that thier monster was having a bad time in prison and was coming apart. I saw a picture of Rafael Caro Quientero and he looks like he was rode hard and put away wet. The bottom line is that his is a life of misery confined forever to live like the worthless animal that he is.LOLOL!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow DFL actually believes that.??? @10:14

'lito'brito said...

la ciraguaya es la cosa mas sabrosa....jajaja..either way you chop it this was an impressive patch...will it affect prices in the USA?...probably...a boon for the local growers?...good ? bad ?..depends on where you stand on the pot issue...

pretty blatant attempt...shows how little surveillance is done by the Mexican authoritys...will this herald the end of mega pot patches ?...stay tuned

makes me wonder what is in some of those giant "tomato"green houses you see out in the country..i had a guy assure me once that a couple of big ones i went by in San Luis Potosi were for sure mota..i was joking about it ..but he was very serious ...si si... deveras... es mota

Anonymous said...

Kiki is DEAD and so is the All Mightly Guadalajara Cartel! Sounds pretty fucking even to me. Kiki is in heaven laughing at the narcos screaming in vain in hell.

-790

Anonymous said...

@10:46 .... Just let them try,these soldiers can and are capable of fucking up 20-30 of these low life narco mother fukkers in less than 30 minutes.Like usual,in a fight where its narcos vs military,the narcos suffer the hardest blows.

Fatso said...

It's amazing when one thinks about the extreme measures cartels take while trying to push narcotics across relatively secure borders. I say "relatively secure" because other locations have much less secure borders, for a variety of reasons (probably both positive and negative). This brings to mind the war on drugs that was launched nearly a decade ago in Thailand, which targeted the problem with meth-amphetamines, unlike the millions of dollars worth of marijuana tunneled into the U.S. Cannabis in Thailand appears to take a backseat to meth or other profitable drugs. There are no reports of tunnels or catapults along the Thai-Myanmar border. Native hill tribe people cross the invisible border frequently in the jungles, as they have done for thousands of years. Meth is produced in Myanmar (Burma), sent across the border with ease into Thailand, and sold. Indeed, it's difficult to comprehend how so many drugs are getting into the U.S.

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