by: Greg Suskin Updated:
YORK COUNTY, S.C. - It took five hours for sheriff's deputies and drug agents to cut down and uproot 1,571 marijuana plants from a secluded growing site along a creek bed Monday night.
The area is a wide, scenic creek that stretches along the border of Cherokee and York counties. A Department of Natural Resources helicopter, which was flying for an unrelated reason, made the discovery from the air. Sled agents later arrived, and sheriff's deputies from both counties moved in on the ground.
They found the marijuana fields in two large plots about a mile and half from the nearest paved road, which is River Road near Starn Road.
The plants were anywhere from 1- to 8-feet tall, and the marijuana had a street value of nearly $4 million.
York County drug agent Mike Ligon said it would take ATVs to get back there to where the crop was being raised.
Deputies also found what looked like a small temporary camp and an elaborate irrigation system, including pumps and pipelines.
Ligon said investigators don't think any neighbors to the area were involved. One woman that Eyewitness News spoke to had seen the helicopter flying Monday night, but had no idea what was going on along the creek.
It's been three years since a large outdoor marijuana grow has been found in York County.
Throughout the summer, drug agents have uncovered multiple cases of marijuana being grown indoors in private homes. Several arrests have been made in those cases.
Though no arrests were made in this case, drug agents said multiple agencies are still working together in the ongoing investigation.