The Smith County Sheriff's Office, accompanied by law officers from other agencies, arrested a suspect during a raid of a marijuana field where approximately 4,000 plants were growing Monday near the intersection of County Road 26 and County Road 244 in eastern Smith County.
Acting on a tip from an anonymous source, sheriff's deputies and agents and officers from the Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol & Criminal Investigation Division, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Texas Department of Corrections K9 Team and Drug Enforcement Administration executed a search warrant at the site.
Shortly after Smith County Sheriff's Office SWAT Team members entered the wooded area, they heard a gasoline engine driven pump running at a nearby creek. A short time later, the SWAT Team members began hearing what they believed to be human activity in the wooded area.
Upon further inspection and subsequent to a perimeter made up of numerous additional law enforcement officers, the SWAT Team members attempted to make contact with persons camping in the immediate area of the illicit marijuana field.
As the SWAT Team members attempted to make contact with the individuals, at least three Hispanic males fled the area.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice K9 Tracking Team entered the wooded area and within approximately an hour and a half took into custody Erick Cruz-Olemedo, 31, of Guerrero, Mexico.
He is being held on a Federal Immigration Customs Enforcement detainer. Authorities expect to file additional state and federal charges in the near future.
The search continued for the other two individuals for several hours and no one else was taken into custody. A helicopter from the Drug Enforcement Administration was also utilized in this operation.
This illicit marijuana field is the second in Smith County in the past three weeks. The previous field yielded over 4,000 plants and the field found Monday is about the same size, Sheriff Larry Smith said.
A .45 caliber pistol was also recovered in this field and was determined to have been stolen out of Houston.
In addition to the standing marijuana plants being located, dried and packaged marijuana in various stages of cultivation for resale was found at the scene.