A war is going on every day to chip away at the illegal drug trade in central Ohio.
Ohio uses $500,000 in federal funds to conduct daily missions across Ohio’s central and southern counties as part of the state’s Marijuana Eradication Program.
BCI Special Agent Dennis Lowe said that he uses aircraft to search for marijuana growing operations from the sky. Just a few hundred feet above the treetops, they can cover thousands of acres.
“What we’re finding out there is cultivated marijuana that’s being produced for resale,” Lowe said. “I know that when that marijuana hits the streets, it has the potential to eventually end up in the hands of people that shouldn’t have it, primarily kids, and so it bothers me, but it’s a mission, and we’ll continue to do it until somebody tells us to stop.”
According to Lowe, marijuana growing operations have changed in recent years.
Marijuana used to regularly be found in plots of hundreds of plants. Now, growers are spreading their plants out in smaller patches and even moving operations inside.
They also are seeing a shift to Mexican drug cartels setting up in very remote areas.
“They seem to be a little hardier than the local guys,” Lowe said. “We’ve also seen a lot of local growers kind of transitioning to areas closer to their homes.”
Agents said that the summer heat and drought have kept numbers down this year, and bad storms have limited some of their time in the air and on the ground.
As of Tuesday, 2,050 plants have been seized since the Marijuana Eradication program began three weeks ago.
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