Pubdate: Tue, 03 Aug 2010
Source: Observer, The (CN ON)
Page: 2
Copyright: 2010, OSPREY Media Group Inc.
Author: Shawn Jeffords


Crimestoppers has enlisted an army of new eyes in the sky this summer 
in its battle against marijuana growers.

The Sarnia-Lambton chapter and its annual "Operation Pot Spot" 
campaign is asking local pilots to help identify marijuana grow 
operations in local fields. Const. Mark Dew said crops are typically 
planted among corn and are hard to see from the ground.

"When you're over top of it, it's easy to see," Dew said. "The pilots 
can be a huge asset to us."

The program encourages pilots to note GPS coordinates of marijuana 
they see and turn them over to Crimestoppers in exchange for a 
reward. It's also safer to scout from the air, Dew said.

"There is always the risk that on the ground you'll run into someone 
willing to inflict serious bodily harm or death to protect their product."

For years criminals have taken to local fields to plant marijuana. 
They normally choose areas close to a water supply and beyond the 
normal walking distance from a road. That's why searching by air is 
so valuable, Dew said.

"The marijuana is really camouflaged by the corn. It grows at about 
the same rate."

Local police find and destroy almost 100,000 marijuana plants each 
summer, Dew said.

"Depending on the area, those plants can go from $1,000 to $1,500 
each. That's a lot of money out of the pockets of organized crime."

To contact Crimestoppers call 1-800-222-8477.
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