Sheriff mum on link between huge marijuana seizures

Staff writer

The largest marijuana bust Robert Craft has encountered as sheriff continued to be under investigation Tuesday as Craft declined to reveal details of an ongoing investigation into who may have been cultivating 2,429 marijuana plants found July 15 in southern Marion County.

Craft would not say exactly where the plants were found, whether the landowner was aware of them, or whether a suspect has been identified.

A similar bust in 2011 netted 2,000 plants worth more than $1 million, but no charges were filed. Craft could not say whether the two busts were related. He did not estimate the value of last week’s find.

Sheriff’s deputies assisted by Marion Police Chief Tyler Mermis spent the majority of the day July 15 harvesting the plants.

Craft said despite their being in a rural location, it was easy to tell the plants were not wild.

“We could tell it wasn’t by the area it was in, the type it was, and there was a big difference between the quality of this and the quality of wild plants,” he said.

Wild plants are not usually as potent and don’t produce as much of a high, Craft said.

Officers will burn the plants, at several locations, making sure they keep out of the smoke.

“You don’t get high from burning it unless you’re standing right next to the fire,” Craft said. “Once the smoke dissipates it can’t get anyone high. There will be an odor, but not the effect.”

The plants were being grown in close proximity to poison ivy, for which a couple of officers had to receive treatment.

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