Huge pot growing operation found in Apache Junction

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The operation was found in an Apache Junction industrial park. (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office) The operation was found in an Apache Junction industrial park. (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office)
A search uncovered 469 marijuana plants, PCSO said. (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office) A search uncovered 469 marijuana plants, PCSO said. (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office)
An investigation led authorities to a man in Scottsdale. (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office) An investigation led authorities to a man in Scottsdale. (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office)
APACHE JUNCTION, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A search warrant served on a building at an Apache Junction industrial park uncovered a huge marijuana growing operation, the Pinal County Sheriff's Office said.


During a routine business check Saturday night, a sheriff's deputy noticed a strong odor of raw marijuana coming from one of the structures in the area of 4800 block of South Desert View Drive. The Pinal County Sheriff's Narcotics Task Force was notified.


A search of the building uncovered 469 marijuana plants in varying stages of growth, sheriff's investigators said.


Each plant has the potential of producing about four ounces of marijuana with an estimated street value of $287,000.


As the investigation unfolded, authorities said they identified Ross Niemann, 30, of Scottsdale as a suspect.


A search warrant executed on his home led to the discovery of “a usable quantity of marijuana and various pieces of drug-related paraphernalia,” according to a PCSO news release.


Investigators said they also found items linking Niemann to the large marijuana grow near Apache Junction.


Niemann was not taken into custody at the time the search warrant was executed.


The investigation is ongoing.


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