JEFFERSON DAVIS COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - In August 2017, Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics agents discovered over 20,000 marijuana plants in a growing operation in Jefferson Davis County.
The value of the bust was estimated at roughly $20 million and covered more than 6 acres, and the investigation is still ongoing.
"Currently, we're continuing to investigate the marijuana fields in Jeff Davis County," said Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics Director John Dowdy. "We have some really solid leads, obviously this is a little bit different than a normal narcotics investigation, nobody was home."
Dowdy said there was a substantial amount of evidence that was left at the scene and recovered from the area, which was located off Polk Oatis Road, two miles east of Grandy Road.
"We're following all these leads," Dowdy said. "We've accumulated some pretty good evidence, we're getting close, and I'm hoping that we're going to be able to wrap this thing up sooner rather than later."
With it going down as the largest in state history, he said it was extraordinarily uncommon to find.
"This is not something that we run in to on a regular basis," Dowdy said. "We may find plants, a couple dozen here, a couple dozen there, but not when you're talking about 20,000 plus marijuana plants grown in the way that this was done. I mean this was a professional organization that was working this."
The size and scope of the recovery and destroying the plants took its toll on the departments resources, as well as the agents.
"It was a little overwhelming and taxing just on the resources that we have with the Bureau of Narcotics, but we were able to identify some individuals that we believe were associated with the grow," Dowdy said. "And as in every case, we're not going to go on assumptions. We're going to continue to dig and we're going to follow the evidence where it leads us."
Dowdy said the person or persons doing this operation were very high-tech.
"One of the things that was unique about this particular grow, the individuals that were involved knew what they were doing," said Dowdy. "There is a way that they can manipulate the genetics of these plants to make the THC content higher, which means the user gets a bigger high from that."
The setup covered the 6 acres, with hoses running from water sources as well as fertilize and other irrigation systems.
"We feel confident that we're going to be able to make an arrest or multiple arrests in connection with this marijuana grow," said Dowdy.