An annual marijuana eradication operation yielded the largest amount of plants ever found lying doggo around the county.
The operation was conducted by the Medway Drug Enforcement Agency, with significant help from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Senior Medway agent Don Hall explained the land and air operation.
"BCI supplied an aerial spotter who is trained to recognize marijuana" from a helicopter, Hall said.
And once the spotter sees something from the sky, he calls it in to Medway and cooperating agencies.
Hall said Wednesday's operation led to law enforcement finding and seizing 728 marijuana plants, which is a record for the area during the annual search. The street value based on the plants yields is about $1.4 million, which Hall said, "we would have ended up buying" on the streets through confidential informants.
The use of an aerial spotter helped the agencies more efficiently locate the marijuana grows. Hall said the majority of plants were located in cornfields, but also were found in other "locations off the beaten path," such as heavily wooded areas.
Hall declined to specify any single area of the county where the plants were found growing and merely said "it was all over" Wayne County.
But for the most part, marijuana plants found were in cornfields, unbeknownst to local farmers.
And since farmers don't even know the plants are growing in their fields, law enforcement has few ways to find out who planted them. There were no arrests or charges filed as a result of the eradication operation.
Anthony Lemmon, a Wooster police detective, was one of numerous officers assisting with the operation. He was helping to pull plants from the ground once they were located by the aerial spotter. The Wooster PD's pickup truck was used to haul plants off the site.
"Medway did an excellent job coordinating, which led to success locating the marijuana," Lemmon said, adding he was impressed with the sheer amount discovered during the operation. He noted none of the marijuana was within the city limits, but the PD participated as a Medway partner.
The plants, Hall explained, were taken to a secure location where they will be dried for some time and incinerated.
Other agencies that participated in the operation were Apple Creek, Brunswick, Creston, Dalton, Doylestown, Marshallville, Orrville, Rittman, Shreve and Wooster police, Wayne County Sheriff's Office, Wooster Post of the State Highway Patrol and Ohio State University Police.
A video recapping the operation can be found on the Wayne County Sheriff's Facebook page.
Reporter Steve Huszai can be reached at 330-287-1645 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He is @GeneralSmithie on Twitter.