TIJUANA, Mexico — A Mexican military commander said Thursday that his soldiers discovered a record-busting marijuana plantation 120 hectares (nearly 300 acres) large in the state of Baja California.
"It is the largest marijuana plantation in Mexican history," General Alfonso Duarte, the commander of the military region based in the far north-western border city of Tijuana, told AFP.
Duarte said the plantation can produce 120 tons of marijuana, which he valued at nearly $160 million.
The plantation, which includes housing for some 60 workers, is hidden in an area best known for raising tomatoes, he said.
The Baja California plantation is nearly twice as large as the previous record marijuana plantation, a 64 hectare pot farm in the northwestern state of Sinaloa discovered in 2007, the military said in a statement.
Soldiers found the plantation while on ground patrol, and arrested six of the nearly 20 people who were working at the time, Duarte said.
Duarte added that he did not know which drug cartel owned the plantation.
The plantation is located near the center of the Baja California peninsula, the general said, but refused to be more specific about the location.
Separately, the Catholic bishop of Saltillo, in the northern border state of Coahuila, said that drug cartels are recruiting children and paying them to act as watch guards.
The kids, usually boys around the age of 12, are paid $120 a week, Bishop Raul Vera told the daily La Jornada.