Father And Son Face Life In Prison For Humongous Pot Farm In Willacy County

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WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons

A father and his son may spend the rest of their lives in federal prison for running a clandestine pot farm in South Texas.

Miguel Echevarria Zuniga, 52, and his son Miguel Echevarria Guizar pleaded guilty last Thursday and could be sentenced to life in prison and be fined up to $10 million, the Associated Press reported.

Sentencing is set for July.

The men were arrested last August when authorities were investigating a stash house hidden in thick brush in Willacy County after an undocumented immigrant escaped from the abandoned property and told authorities he was beaten, according to the Valley Morning Star.

Willacy County Sheriff Larry Spence told the paper it was the largest marijuana farming operation he could remember since becoming sheriff in 1995. 

“The more I look at it, I’m amazed — all those ditches so they can irrigate it,” Spence said.

Plastic-coated twine tied to four tall mesquite trunks held a black plastic tarp used to form a canopy over stacks of dried branches.

An empty 50-pound bag of PotashCorp. Urea fertilizer lay near a plastic can of Cyonara Lawn & Garden insecticide.

Nearby, a thatched hut had covered a small plywood table whose four mesquite legs jutted from the ground. A dirty plastic grocery bag covered an old cardboard box of Maruchan ramen noodles that lay near a Styrofoam egg carton.

“Basically it’s a camouflaged hiding place — little hootches with grass tops so if a plane flew over you won’t see it,” Spence said.

Hop over to the Star to see images of operation.

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