07/18/11—On Tuesday July 12, military personnel discovered what is believed to be the largest known marijuana plantation in Mexico’s history, which Mexico’s Secretary of National Defense (Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional, Sedena) reported is owned by drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán and the Sinaloa Cartel. The location of the plantation is just over 250 miles south of the U.S. border in the desert of Rosario, Baja California. Sedena estimated that the seizure prevented about 120 tons of marijuana, worth about $160 million, from reaching the U.S. market, according to Brigade General Alfonso Duarte Múgica, who oversaw the operation.
The military unit that found the plantation, which consisted of about 30 soldiers, entered into what they initially believed to be a tomato field. According to military Commander Landeros Briseno, as the soldiers walked further into the plantation they saw roughly 100 laborers, who were in the middle of dinner, fleeing through the hills. The military was able to capture two people at the plantation and another 56 people at the checkpoints set up around the area.
In addition to the vast amount of marijuana, boxes of highly toxic fertilizers were also found. About 200 soldiers are now burning the marijuana, which authorities say, could take up to a month due to the size of the plantation. President Felipe Calderón has formally congratulated Secretary of National Defense Guillermo Galván Galván, for the discovery and seizure. As reported by Impacto, President Calderón described the success as a “big blow to organized crime.”