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Drought Helping Indiana Police Find Marijuana Growing Operations From Air

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File photo of a marijuana field.  (credit: Jack Fields/GettyImages)

File photo of a marijuana field. (credit: Jack Fields/GettyImages)

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SELLERSBURG, Ind. (AP) — Outdoor marijuana growing operations in southern Indiana have become easier to spot from the air because of the drought, state police said.

An airplane pilot guided troopers on the ground through heavily wooded areas and corn fields to grow sites in Clark, Scott and Harrison counties on Tuesday, helping them to discover and cut down more than 100 marijuana plants.

The browning of drought-stricken corn makes the resilient green marijuana plants “stick out like a sore thumb,” Sgt. Jerry Goodin told The Courier-Journal.

Trooper Mike Bennett said the marijuana eradication team that he coordinates works from May until the first frost to locate the hidden plants. Any plants seized will be burned once Clark County lifts its burn ban, he said.

If the plants are properly watered, marijuana crops can flourish despite the drought, Bennett said.

“It is not called weed for nothing,” Bennett told The News and Tribune. “It grows like a weed.”

Troopers arrested a 38-year-old Winslow man on cultivating marijuana charges after finding 74 plants ranging from 3 feet to 7 feet tall on his rural property earlier this month. But the owners of property where marijuana grows are rarely arrested.

“The vast majority of the property owners have no idea that it’s growing on their land,” Bennett said.

Goodin said troopers would be searching by ground and air in the coming months for wild and farmed marijuana.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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