The narcotics unit got some tips on where some marijuana plants were in the county," said Cherokee County Narcotics Agent Joe Hester. "We rented an airplane to go up and spot them and locate exactly where they were. And then today, we went out to eradicate them. We cut the plants down. One area is off 278 which probably had about 150 plants, ranging from four to six feet tall and then the second location we went to was here on County Road 29 in the Spring Garden, Rock Run area. We cut down 23 plants around five or six feet tall."
Plants were also destroyed in another area off County Road 45 near Rock Run, Hester said.
"It seems like the mountain area on the south end is a preferred spot for some reason," said Hester. "It's not too hard to spot. The growers are finding different ways to camouflage it where it's harder to see from the air, but we've been very lucky. We can still spot it."
During eradication, Hester explained, the plant often is a darker green because the growers will often keep the plants watered. "But this year, because of all the rain, everything around the marijuana plants is green also," said Hester. "If you are flying and all of your trees and stuff are dying or brown-colored because of lack of rain, and you see marijuana plants sitting right in the middle of all this dead stuff, somebody should speak out. This year has probably been the hardest one I have seen as far as pot due to all the rain we've had."
The average lay person is not aware of what goes into planning for an eradication effort, Hester said.
"Last week, when we eradicated, we had the sheriff's office personnel and some of the cities and municipalities send a guy out," said Hester. "Because of scheduling, it is usually on the officer's off day. He's got to work his other job. The eradication team members weren't sure if they are going to get to come back this year because of funding.