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Friday, August 13th, 2010

Officials seize hundreds of pot plants in two-county area

By Shelley Grieshop
Nearly 400 marijuana plants were pulled from area farm fields and fence rows this week following a helicopter search by local and state law enforcement officials.
Members of the Auglaize-Mercer County Grand Lake Drug Task Force and agents with the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification removed 373 marijuana plants from Auglaize County properties and 10 from Mercer County during daylong searches Monday and Tuesday.
The street value of the marijuana plants ranges from $15,000 to $20,000, based on size and maturity, Auglaize County Sheriff Al Solomon and Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey said.
No arrests were made although several of the locations remain under investigation, a press release noted. Charges could include cultivation if investigators identify a subject involved in the growing of the plants, according to the local sheriffs.
The maximum sentence for marijuana cultivation is eight years in prison, based on 20,000 grams or more of the illegal drug.
This year the eradication plan in Auglaize County was concentrated in the eastern and southern regions. Locations vary from year to year, the sheriffs said.
Local law enforcement agencies utilized a helicopter and pilot from the Marion County Sheriff's Office for the two-day task. Efforts were coordinated between officers in the air and those on the ground.
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