WENDEN, Ariz. -- Arizona authorities said they discovered a large and sophisticated marijuana field in La Paz County early Tuesday morning.
Detectives from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the LaPaz County Narcotics Task Force, discovered approximately 4,500 marijuana plants growing along the Centennial Wash near Wenden.
The plants ranged from 3 to 6 feet high and were located in four separate grows throughout the one-acre site. A security fence surrounded the entire field.
DEA officials said the marijuana cultivation operation was located in the middle of a grove of salt cedar trees near the edge of a small tributary. Each of the four grows had its own irrigation system powered by a pump that emitted water through an underground watering drip system.
If cultivated, the field could easily have produced 400 pounds of usable marijuana with an estimated street value of $100,000 in Arizona and $300,000 on the East Coast, according to DPS officials.
"This eradication operation means that thousands of marijuana plants never made it into our neighborhoods," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman. "DEA will continue to support our law enforcement partners in attacking all aspects of drug trafficking and the violence that goes hand in hand with the distribution of these harmful substances."
Officials said an abandoned .22-caliber rifle was found at the site.
The marijuana plants were destroyed.