Smoke jumpers fighting fires parachute into marijuana operation

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Marijuana plants from growing operation discovered by smoke jumpers Marijuana plants from growing operation discovered by smoke jumpers

Smoke jumpers fighting lightning fires in southern Oregon discovered a major marijuana growing operation on U.S. Forest Service land.

It was spotted in the Applegate area in Jackson County. More than 1,500 plants were taken away from the site, along with two long guns and other evidence.

Photos at the scene showed large piles of trash, as well.

The smoke jumpers parachuted into the middle of the garden while fighting the wildfires Tuesday. Investigators said it belonged to a Mexican national drug trafficking organization.

There were hundreds of additional holes and water lines being prepared for additional plants.

Investigators said it is extremely rare to locate a marijuana grow of this size this early in the year on public lands. People often stumble upon them during the late summer to early fall months.

Law enforcement officers in southern Oregon said there are signs to look for as evidence of grow sites, including PVC piping, bags of fertilizer, large quantities of trash and camp sites.

Deputies say members of drug trafficking organizations at these sites are often armed and may take extreme measures to protect their assets.

If you notice anything suspicious, you are advised to leave by the way you came in. If possible, take note of your GPS location, but do not investigate further. Call police with road descriptions and drainage or creek names.

This week's discovery remains under investigation.

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