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Four arrested in northwestern Arizona pot farm operation

A tip from hunters led authorities to a massive marijuana growing operation on public land in northwest Arizona.

Four men referred to as Mexican nationals were arrested July 10 on allegations of cultivating 12,556 marijuana plants on Bureau of Land Management land near the Big Sandy Wash and the Mohave County community of Wikieup.

“The cultivation areas were equipped with an irrigation system, which included generators to pump water to man-made reservoirs that were lined with plastic and camouflaged with cut vegetation and debris,” stated a news release issued by the U.S. attorney’s office in Phoenix.

Those arrested and charged with conspiracy and cultivation of marijuana on federal land were identified as Leopoldo Deniz-Ochoa, 27, Jose Casillas-Castaneda, 29, Noe Isreal Cardenas-Delgado, 34, and Andres Casillas-Alvarez, 54. The suspects made their initial appearances in U.S. District Court on Thursday.

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