Billboards Go After Marijuana Growers

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Aug 13, 2001.

  1. By Aileen Soper
    Source: Charlotte Observer

    August, best known for hot weather and back-to-school shopping, is also prime time for marijuana production, when the plants are reaching their peak height. The Gaston County Law Enforcement Association is putting up billboards across the county this month encouraging residents to rat out those growing the illegal drug.
    The six signs, which show a crossed-out marijuana leaf, display the telephone number of Gaston County Crime Stoppers. They'll stay up through mid-September - harvest time to marijuana growers and vice cops. Gaston County Police used the billboards for the first time last year.

    Authorities credit them with dramatically increasing the number of tips and plants seized. The agency's vice narcotics squad seized 114 plants last year, up from 47 in 1999.

    W.B. Hall, a Gaston County Police vice agent, said the increased number of tips allowed trained police spotters to identify marijuana plants while flying 1,000 feet overhead in surveillance airplanes and helicopters.

    The billboard idea started when Gaston County Police noticed they were getting fewer tips on possible sites of marijuana production. Police have also run ads similar to the billboards on Channel 16, the county's public-access cable station, and in local newspapers.

    Tipsters have included jilted spouses and upset neighbors. Some growers have confided in their preachers, and the preachers called police.

    From the air, police have spotted the plants sprouting in wooded patches, roadsides and backyard gardens.

    "It's countywide," said Hall, the marijuana eradication coordinator for a team of investigators from Gaston County's police departments.

    "We've found some in Crowders Mountain, in Cherryville, Stanley and up near Lucia."

    Marijuana plants can reach 6 to 15 feet in height. Police spotters flying overhead have been trained to identify even single plants on the ground.

    Earlier this year, a crew returning to a local airport noticed a marijuana stash near Hickory Creek in south Gastonia.

    "It was a full-sized, professional operation," Hall said. "This is why we fly."

    Police seized 112 plants with an estimated street value of $280,000. The planters, who remain at large, took care to hide their booty before the police found it, Hall said.

    They clear-cut a patch of land, surrounded it in chicken wire and piled brush into a 6-foot wall so the marijuana plants on the interior would be invisible to anyone walking by. They even painted three 5-gallon buckets in camouflage. Police found the buckets filled with water and Miracle-Gro.

    In another bust, police found 17 marijuana plants growing in a kudzu patch along a highway in Bessemer City.

    Still, with all the growing, Hall estimates that just 10percent of the marijuana smoked in Gaston is actually grown here. Most, he said, comes from Mexico.

    Note: During harvest time, 6 ads encourage people to report illegal plants.

    Source: Charlotte Observer (NC)
    Author: Aileen Soper
    Published Friday, August 10, 2001
    Copyright: 2001 The Charlotte Observer
  2. Man, what's with all this terminology like "at large'? They make these growers out to seem like common criminals. It's disgusting. Even if they are doing it just for profit, and they are involved in the drug scene, how is that different than fast food and tobacco?
  3. how is that different than fast food and tobacco?
    It's not my friend ....not one bit different.

    Rat out your neighbors ,rat out your parents ,rat out your kids. Drug Nazis. This was Hitler's idea. :(

    [ August 14, 2001: Message edited by: roach ]
  4. Yeah, man, nazis. That's it!

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