Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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June 19, 2014

Pot crop cropped

Corsicana — The helicopter flying over the Rice area Thursday morning was helping in a raid on a pot-growing operation that netted nearly 1,300 live marijuana plants, according to Navarro County Sheriff Elmer Tanner.

Most of the plants were seedlings of about six inches.

“They were in the early stages of growth,” he said. “We caught the operation real early and were fortunate to be able to do that.”

The owner of the property didn’t seem to know about the pot farm in a wooded area on his land, but the growers had gone in and cleared six plots in the woods, set up an irrigation system and a small campsite.

“We’ve been proactive in trying to educate the community on suspicious activity and to make them aware of what to look for. Far too often these growers come and just take over someone’s property,” Tanner said.

A tip led officers to the area, and Department of Public Safety helicopter unit out of Garland helped them find the marijuana groves. The SWAT team, with air support from DPS, went in early Thursday and had cleaned the whole thing out by around 11 a.m., Tanner said.

No one was arrested at the scene, and it appeared as if the growers were weren’t there around the clock.

The campsite had no means for preparing meals, and was stocked with dry goods like Vienna sausages and peanuts and bread.

“We did find signs of recent activity, but it was not tended every day,” Tanner said. “They were coming in and checking the crops, probably on the weekends, but once we discovered this crop we needed to go ahead and eradicate it based on the close proximity to residences in the area, for the safety of the landowners and property owners in the area.”

The site was near Rice, with relatively easy access to Interstate 45.

Navarro County officers have seized 50,000 marijuana plants since 2008. Major seizures were conducted in 2008 through 2011, but dropped off in 2012 and 2013.

“I think we’d sent a real clear message we were actively looking for it,” Tanner said. “This is the first one of this season, but it’s early in the season, as well.

“We’re going to be active and aggressive in looking for these situations to make sure this isn’t something that’s going to get started again,” Tanner said.


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