ISP; National Guard Conclude Summer Marijuana Eradication Blitz (AUDIO/PHOTOS)

JASPER (Local Sources) – Indiana State Police at Jasper say between August 17th and the 28th, they along with the Indiana National Guard Counter Drug Task Force, US Drug Enforcement Administration, US Forest Service, Civil Air Patrol, Indiana Department of Natural Resources and local law enforcement agencies partnered to concentrate their efforts on illegal marijuana grow operations across southern Indiana.

Sgt. Phil Hensley with ISP at Jasper says this effort was a proactive response to criminal intelligence of illegal drug trafficking operations growing marijuana on public property such as the Hoosier National Forest and other remote state and federally owned property…

He says, “through federal grant programs funded through the Domestic Cannabis Eradication and Suppression Program, the Indiana State Police and Indiana National Guard were able to combine efforts with personnel, intelligence, and aircraft support to make this year’s effort, named Operation Smoke Out, a success.”

Hensley goes on to say that within the combined efforts and resource sharing, a large portion of southern Indiana was scoured by aircraft surveillance and supported by mobile ground teams. In making daily discoveries of illegal marijuana grow operations, 146 marijuana plots were found to contain a total of 4,898 marijuana plants.

Investigators believe that the street value of the marijuana seized could be as much as $7,500,000. Sixteen people were arrested throughout the course of the operation, and officers seized over four pounds of processed marijuana, six weapons, $3,000, and a methamphetamine lab. Officers hope that information obtained throughout the two weeks will result in future additional arrests. (PLEASE NOTE: Hensley says these figures do not include the marijuana that was located and eradicated from a cornfield Tuesday morning near Holland.)

The Indiana State Police Marijuana Eradication Section needs your help to combat illegal drug activity in Indiana. Anyone with drug information can anonymously call the Indiana Marijuana Tip Line at 888-873-1694. The success of the marijuana eradication program is due to excellent teamwork amongst law enforcement, government agencies and good information shared from the public.

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