$60-$70 million worth of marijuana seized on Fate Ward Road

Published 3:10 pm Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies are investigating a massive marijuana growing operation just outside Prentiss on Fate Ward Road.

The operation was dis- covered around 3 p.m. Monday during a routine flyover.

According to officials, there are seven fields that contain as many as 60-70 thousand marijuana plants.

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Some of the plants were over seven feet tall.

Two fields were discovered behind a house at 168 Fate Ward Road. The other five were across the street.

Eloise Fortenberry owns the 44-acre area where all seven fields were found right off Hwy 42 east.

The estimated value of the plants is over $60 mil- lion, according to investigators.

Along with the fields, there was $30,000 worth of water hoses which served as irrigation for the plants from water around the area.

There was also a camp set up where individuals had been living.

Large boxes of oranges, tomatoes, onions, potatoes and energy drinks were among the food items found on the site.

A large tarp provided shelter and clothes were hanging on a line nearby.

Propane tanks, a cooktop, pots and pans, a hunting rifle and fertilizer were also found in the growing area.

MBN believes this grow could be connected to a similar operation busted on Polk Oatis Road in the county just over a year ago.

That operation was dis- covered Aug. 17, 2017, and had a total of 20,000 marijuana plants with an estimated street value of over $20 million.

At the time, that was one of the largest marijuana raids in state history. The raid on Fate Ward Road is triple that.

“This is very similar to the cartel grows we see out west,” said MBN Director John M. Dowdy Jr.

Teams with the MBN, Drug Enforcement Ad- ministration, MBI, Mississippi Highway Patrol, Mississippi Department of Transportation, Mississippi Department of Wild- life, Fisheries and Parks, Jefferson Davis County Sheriff’s Department and Prentiss Police Department are working together and the scene is still being processed and evidence collected.

The site is so large, Circle X Imagery drones are being used to survey the area.

The Mississippi Forestry Commission and MDOT brought in grinders and mulchers, along

with other heavy equipment, to destroy the plants on site.

Authorities were questioning Randy Thompson, who lives at 168 Fate Ward Road, but no charges had been filed as of late Tuesday afternoon.

“This is two years in a row a big investment has been found and de- stroyed in Jefferson Davis County,” said Jefferson Davis County Sheriff Ron Strickland.

“You can hide, but you can’t disappear. Sooner or later you will be caught.”