Officials in western Montana say they have removed an estimated 3,000 marijuana plants and an extensive drip irrigation system from a growing operation spotted during aerial surveillance of the Lolo National Forest.

The U.S. Forest Service and the Mineral County sheriff's office said Tuesday the plants had a street value estimated at $8 million.

No suspects were observed at the site when it was discovered and officers believe the area has been abandoned. Officials are asking anyone who may have seen suspicious activity in the Superior District of the forest to contact law enforcement.

Forest Service Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Herrick says growing operations have been discovered in national forests throughout the country, and now the problem has arrived in Montana.

Associated Press