Probe of pot field continues

News editor

Field conditions could complicate the ongoing investigation into who was responsible for 2,429 marijuana plants seized July 15 in southern Marion County, Sheriff Robert Craft said Tuesday.

“It appears seeds were broadcast over the area, with very minimal tending early on, and then nothing after that,” Craft said. “It hadn’t been tended for a long time.”

The tactic is a common one to avoid detection, he said.

“There’s been nobody in that area for quite some time, which minimizes the risk to the persons that plant the seeds,” Craft said. “You can plant the seeds and come back in six months and gather what’s there. It’s minimal risk because they’re never in the area.”

The July 15 harvest differs markedly from a similar one in 2011, also in southern Marion County.

“They aren’t close to the same type,” Craft said. “The previous one was fully cultivated, a person manning the site, tending and watering. They had a little bivouac area. People had spent quite a bit of time there. This was nothing like that.”

Craft countered speculation posted on social media that the plants weren’t high-grade marijuana.

“It was not typical ditch weed. The condition of the plants, the odor of the plants, there’s a vast difference between what we call local ditch weed and what this is,” he said. “There’s plenty of that in the county, too, it’s scattered everywhere, and we typically spray it. It’s been here for hundreds of years, but that’s not the high quality people are looking for.”

The seizure and destruction of the plants shouldn’t be called a “bust,” Craft said.

“The property owner discovered it and reported it to the sheriff’s office. We’re just trying to determine the extent of the illegal activity and who,” Craft said.

Craft’s office is conducting the investigation. Other county or state agencies would be brought in if an out-of-county connection is discovered, he said.

 

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