COVERT TWP. (WWJ/AP) – Authorities say they found nearly 15,000 marijuana plants at an illegal growing site in southwestern Michigan.

Lt. Wayne Edington of the Michigan State Police and Southwest Enforcement Team says officers went to the site in Van Buren County’s Covert Township on Friday after receiving a tip about the marijuana on July 29.

When officers arrived, Edington said they found a camp at the site and two Hispanic men with guns tending the plants. The men fled when officers approached.

Police K-9 units tracked the men through dense underbrush and woods for several miles to a location off County Road 376, where it is believed they were picked up by accomplices.

Officers secured the area and found 14,860 “well-tended marijuana plants,” which have since been destroyed. Reports say the marijuana could have had a street value of nearly $15 million.

Edington said the grow operation was one of the largest his department has seen, and the use of a camp at the site is what made it unusual.

“There were people encamped there to care for and harvest the plants. That’s not typically seen in this part of the state. In fact, I’ve never seen that in this area before,” Edington told The Kalamazoo Gazette.

Tips are being sought from the public. Anyone with information is urged to contact police at 269-982-8664.

TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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