Eradication seizes 361 marijuana plants

Local law enforcement was scanning the county for marijuana grow operations Tuesday.

A total of 361 marijuana plants were seized from across Wayne County as a part of the annual eradication program organized by the Ohio Attorney General's Office and the Bureau of Criminal Investigations. An estimated street value for these plants is $541,000.

"Obviously, this is a very large county," said Donald Hall, director of the Medway Drug Enforcement Agency, which coordinated the ground game with nearly every law enforcement agency across the county.

BCI operated a helicopter with a spotter trained to recognize marijuana plants from the air. A vast majority of the time, farmers are unaware of these grow operations.

Tuesday's harvest, Hall said, was recovered from Wayne County cornfields and he noted this was "pretty good considering the drought conditions" experienced this summer.

This is roughly half the amount Medway located in 2013, when it found a record 728 plants valued at $1.4 million.

Based on the size of the plants, Hall surmised that growers were most likely from nearby areas and getting water to them somehow.

"Whoever is planting is getting water to them somehow, either by buckets or an irrigation system," Hall said.

Hall said early season totals from BCI show Wayne County as one of the highest-producing counties for marijuana.

"We are down from the past couple of years ... due to presumably the drought-like conditions," Hall said. "But with that being said, Wayne County has been higher in totals than other counties this year."

Assisting agencies include Wooster Police, Wayne County Sheriff's Office, Orrville, Rittman, Apple Creek, Doylestown, Creston, Wooster Post of the State Highway Patrol, and the OSU-ATI police.

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