06/10/10 — Helicopter flight finds marijuana plant crop

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Helicopter flight finds marijuana plant crop

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on June 10, 2010 1:46 PM

FREMONT -- A helicopter patrol by the Wayne County Sheriff's Office turned up a crop of 25 marijuana plants near Fremont on land off Davis Mill Road Wednesday afternoon.

Lt. Chris Worth of the Wayne County Sheriff's Office said the plants were spotted in a wooded area described as a sort of "no man's land."

Davis Mill Road runs north of the town, intersecting with Black Creek Road.

Worth said the investigation is still ongoing. He estimated the value of the plants at $60,000 had they reached maturity, going by an estimated value of $2,400 per plant.

Once the plants were reported by the helicopter team, Worth said a unit from the Goldsboro-Wayne Drug Squad was sent into the wooded area.

"When they found them, they called us, and we sent a team in to take pictures of them and to cut them up," he said.

Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders called this the height of the marijuana season, and added that recent rain might help growers produce more plants than in recent years.

"When it was dry, we won't have as much marijuana, because it does take a lot of water," Winders said. "But with the rain we've had, there could be a number of ...(plants) out there."

Officers often look along a water source for the illicit crops, which can finance other illegal operations or types of criminal activity, the sheriff noted.

Winders said he was pleased with the seizure, and said that he takes pride in the fact that taxpayers are not paying for the helicopter.

"We pay for it out of drug seizure money, and all operations and maintenance, fuel and radio equipment is paid through a few different (methods,)" Winders said.

Those methods include grants and a federal-level equipment surplus program, in addition to money awarded to local law enforcement agencies after drug seizures, the sheriff said.

Winders said patrols for the plants would continue.

"They're flying right now, because this is starting to get to the growth season," the sheriff said.