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Lancaster Co. Sheriffs Discover 8,091 Marijuana Plants


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Agents of the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office seized more than eight thousand marijuana plants Friday in a wooded area near Cedar Creek Dam. The 8,091 marijuana plants, with a street value of over 16 million dollars, were the single largest discovery ever made in Lancaster County.

Eight marijuana fields were spotted by drug agents during an aerial surveillance flight over the area adjacent to Wateree River. The helicopter was flown by pilots from the South Carolina National Guard.

The discovery was made around 3:30 Friday afternoon.

“One of our agents aboard the plane suggested making a flight over the Cedar Creek landing area,” said Lt. Paul Harrison who heads Lancaster County’s Drug Task Force. “It was the last area we were going to check before calling it a day.”

The eight fields, the largest of which was over an acre in size, were embedded in pine forests on the slopes or crests of ridges. The fields were separated by less than two hundred yard and the suspects had cleared the overhead canopy by downing trees in each plot.

Agents discovered a campsite adjacent to the largest field which contained a tent, a home-made bunk, a table, and numerous food supplies.

“It was clearly apparent that the persons responsible for growing the marijuana had been spending a great deal of time taking care of the plants,” said Lt. Harrison. “We found evidence to suggest they were individually watering each plant.”

More than a thousand feet of garden hose was recovered from the wooded area next to the largest field. The suspects had dug holes near natural drainage ditches to collect water. Bottles of plant food, insecticides, and fertilizer were also found around the fields.

Once the marijuana fields were discovered, agents called for assistance from the State Law Enforcement division. SLED sent an additional helicopter and about a dozen ground units to assist in the eradication.

Deputies and investigators from the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office also assisted in removing the plants from the wooded area. A portion of Lancaster County’s STAR team also responded to the scene. Lancaster County Emergency Medical Service assisted in provided water and medical support.

A command center was established at the Cedar Creek boat landing by members of Lancaster County Emergency Preparedness and a makeshift landing zone was created for the National Guard and SLED helicopters.

“Every facet of Lancaster County emergency services were a part of the eradication process,” said Lt. Lee Blackmon of the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office. “We had firemen and medics working alongside drug agents and detectives and the cooperation between each department was extraordinary.”

Agents coordinated different teams to cut or pull the plants while others counted and then loaded the plants aboard four-wheelers to be hauled back to an awaiting trailer on Green Road near the boat landing. It took nearly four hours to clear each field as workers toiled in temperatures nearing 100 degrees.

The marijuana was taken to the incinerator at the Lancaster County Animal Shelter where it was destroyed Friday evening.

“This is a major victory in our fight against the drug trade in Lancaster County,” said Lt. Harrison. “Our similar eradication of nearly 7000 plants in 2002 substantially hurt the availability of marijuana in Lancaster County for an entire year.”

In August of 2002, a fly-over of the same general area netted 6,820 plants.

Anyone with information related to this discovery is urged to contact the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office at (803) 283-3388.

Newshawk: SX420 - 420 Magazine
Source: WISTV
Author: Logan Smith
Copyright: 2006 WorldNow and WISTV
Contact: loganjsmith@wistv.com
Website: WIStv.com Columbia, SC: Home
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16 million bucks worth of weed, incinerated, What a waste.
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