CENTERVILLE -- Police removed more than 12,000 marijuana plants on a rugged hillside above here on Forest Service Land on Sunday morning. The operation took several hours.
Centerville resident Troy Carlson, who lives about a mile below where the plants were removed on the 100 block of 700 East, said he was surprised to hear helicopters about 9:30 a.m. and then to find out that police had found the drugs growing there.
"We just watched all day," he said. "Of course, we are concerned about it. It's about a mile from our fence line. It's not a long ways."
Carlson said the area now is cordoned off with police tape.
But that yellow tape isn't necessarily easing his fears.
Carlson said he's concerned because he has 18- and 16-year-old children who hike up in the area often.
"It was on the steep slopes, not a place you would commonly walk by," he said.
But it's the people who planted the marijuana there that concern him more than the plants.
"I hear that people that watch those are often armed." he said.
He remembers having heard shots fired in the area about 9:30 p.m. Saturday.
"It could have been somebody up there messing around," he said.
Police say the site where the illegal plants were growing was initially found by a hiker.
Officials from the Davis Metro Narcotics Strike Force were contacted Saturday about the marijuana-growing operation, says a news release from the force.
Officials investigated through Sunday and then began removing the plants.
Assisting was the Davis County Sheriff's Office and Centerville Police Department. The Drug Enforcement Administration also provided personnel in support of the investigation, according to the release.
The helicopter Carlson saw and heard was a Utah Department of Public Safety aircraft used both to transport safety officials to the rugged terrain and to assist in taking out the plants and debris left at the site.
No suspects were found by police when they arrived on the scene, states the news release.
A campsite next to the area was found abandoned.
The news release states that the marijuana-growing area was set up with a gravity-fed irrigation system to water the plants.
The area was well-organized and fairly hidden by heavy vegetation and an abundance of trees and brush.
Police continue to investigate the scene.
According to the strike force, in the past several years the number of outdoor marijuana-grow sites has increased around the state.