July 25, 2008

State Chopper Finds Pot Crop in Woods

By Patti Dozier, Thomasville Times-Enterprise, Ga.

Jul. 25--THOMASVILLE -- It was a wet and soggy venture on the ground after a marijuana crop discovery by air.

Thomas County/Thomasville Narcotics/Vice Division agents had entered an area in southern Thomas County where they suspected marijuana might be growing.

"We went out and got coordinates with a global positioning system," said Kevin Lee, narcotics/vice chief.

On Wednesday, narcotics agents turned the coordinates over to the pilot of a Governor's Task Force for Drug Suppression helicopter.

The pilot flew over the area and notified agents about a find in Metcalf-Beachton area. Narcotics agents and Thomas County Sheriff's Office investigators entered woods off Springhill Road about 3 p.m. in a driving rain and walked about one-fourth of a mile.

In thick undergrowth in the woods, lawmen found two plots, each about eight-by-eight feet. Marijuana, surrounded by metal fencing, was growing in the plots.

Officers found 19 plants, each about seven feet tall. At maturity, marijuana plants have a street value of about $1,000 each.

"They were well-concealed under the underbrush. It would have been very hard to find on foot, because it was within hundreds of acres," Lee explained.

A foot trail, the plants and fencing were plainly visible from the air. Marijuana produces a different shade of green that is easily detectable from the air.

No one has been charged in the Wednesday pot find.

"At least one arrest is highly probable," Lee said.

Many marijuana-growers are shying away from planting the contraband outdoors. Traditional planting methods require a lot of work, and rainfall has been skimpy in recent years.

"It requires them to have to carry water and fertilizer to them," Lee said about outdoor marijuana crops.

Not only can the moisture level be maintained easier indoors, but frost fears are not a factor.

"But there are ways to monitor that," the commander explained about indoor pot crops.

The marijuana found by a state chopper Wednesday was weighed, packaged and placed in evidence at the Jail-Justice Center.

Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 220.


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