By Amber Bass
Wednesday was the start of the marijuana eradication effort here in Clay County. WV Army National Guard helicopters will be seen throughout our skies for the remainder of the week, as well as all over West Virginia during this exhaustive effort. The DEA, WVANG and West Virginia State Police will team up to curb the growing of the illegal plants. Thus far, the turnout has been fair but Troopers anticipate much more to be found in the days ahead. Weather has been cooperative with keeping law enforcement in the air and on the ground.
“We’ve located two plots so far but we will be boots on the ground for the rest of the week and expect leads to result in better finds. If anyone has information on grow sites, we’re always looking for help within the community” stated 1SG Stalnaker, of Big Otter detachment. West Virginia has been among the top 10 states as regards marijuana plant eradication each year since 1985. The number of marijuana plants destroyed in West Virginia ranged from 40,149 in 1998 to more than 189,000 in 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. The West Virginia State Police place a value of $2,000 on every plant, which means that the marijuana destroyed in 2012 had a “street value” of $378 million.
(Statistics and facts found in The West Virginia Encyclopedia, on Marijuana Cultivation)