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Police eradicate pot crop valued at $280,000

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By Dave Taylor

Local law enforcement officers from the Trimble County Sheriff’s Department and Kentucky State Police confiscated and destroyed a crop of what Sheriff Tim Coons termed “very high quality” marijuana with a street value of $280,000 on Monday, Sept. 10.

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“There are suspects in this case,” Coons said. “This is an ongoing investigation. It’s still an open case.”

Coons said he had been alerted to the presence of an “illegal marijuana grow at the Morton Ridge hill where the power lines go across” about a year ago. “We investigated that and got there too late. When we got there the plants had already been harvested but it was plain to see that it had been growing there.”

Last week, Coons, Chief Deputy Rich Knighten and Trooper Matt Whalen went back to the area and located the growth. That evening at about dark, Coons, accompanied by Sgt. Trooper Charlie Kelton, Canine Trooper Ryan Gossert and his dog Rizzo returned to the site and harvested the crop.

“It is straight up and down, very steep, very rugged and there were briars all around it,” Coons said of the terrain. “By the time we got out there we were soaking wet with sweat. At that point we just cut the plants, hauled them out of there and went and burned them.” Coons said the burn required two-and-a-half hours to completely destroy the crop after it was thoroughly soaked with diesel fuel.

“I will tell you that in my 10 years that is by far the most absolute best quality of any marijuana I have seen growing outside,” Coons said. “Every plant had big buds on it. The street value of these plants now is $2,000 a plant at maturity so that’s $280,000 worth of plants because we got 140 plants. I think it would be best described as very high quality marijuana plants. This wasn’t wild stuff. Whoever was growing these plants knew what they were doing.”

Coons said he has harvested plants on Corn Creek in the past that have been eight feet tall and thick with stems. The plants harvested last week were bushes.

“They were so full and big it looked like this whole room was full of pot plants—top of the line stuff,” he said. “That is dope that we took away that could have been offered to your kids. That makes it daggone important. If we save one kid from getting on drugs was it worth all that effort? I guarantee it was!”

Coons said he is against the current efforts by lawmakers in the state and federal governments to legalize the agricultural production of hemp (see related story on Page 8).

“I’m not in favor of legalizing any drug like that – marijuana or hemp,” he said. “I think it leads to other things. That’s where it starts. I personally don’t think it should happen. Almost 90 percent of the trouble that I have in the county is from illegal drugs. It causes the other problems.”