Texas Parks & Wildlife:
AUSTIN (KYTX) – Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game wardens have seized more than two tons of marijuana worth nearly $4 million.
"This is one of if not the largest drug seizure by Texas game wardens in the history of our agency," said TPWD Law Enforcement Director Craig Hunter. "Obviously, we are very proud of the wardens involved in this case. Beyond that, we are tremendously pleased to have played a part in preventing such a large cache of marijuana from reaching our streets,"
The drug seizure occurred about 7 p.m. on Wednesday in Starr County near the U.S.-Mexican border in South Texas. Retail value of the marijuana was estimated at $3,775,440.
"A game warden received information that marijuana was being stashed at a residence in the Salineno area. Game wardens then requested assistance from the U.S. Border Patrol," said TPWD Maj. Alan Teague.
When the warden and Border Patrol agents approached the residence, the federal officers saw three men running from the rear of the structure. The officers shouted for the men to stop, but they kept running. After a foot pursuit, two of the three men were apprehended.
While escorting the two individuals back to the residence, the officers observed a large pile of bundles which appeared to be packaged marijuana. A closer inspection along with a Border Patrol canine confirmed the bundles were in fact marijuana. Officers also discovered an underground bunker located near the pile of marijuana bundles which contained more marijuana.
A total of 409 bundles of marijuana weighing 4,719 pounds were recovered from the back yard area. It took six trucks to carry the marijuana to a federal storage facility.
"Texas game wardens routinely come across illegal drug smuggling operations, especially in rural areas and along the border region," said Chief of Special Operations Grahame Jones, "but this seizure was particularly significant."
The two suspects were released to the Border Patrol, along with the seized marijuana.
"We certainly appreciate the assistance of the Border Patrol in this case," said Lt. Col. Danny Shaw. "TPWD has a close working relationship with the Border Patrol and other law enforcement agencies along the border, and this is a perfect example of how that pays off for the citizens of Texas."