Aerial search spots no pot

No marijuana plants were found in Seneca County fields during the state’s annual marijuana eradication effort Thursday.

Detective Sgt. Don Joseph of the Seneca County Drug Task Force METRICH Enforcement Unit and the Seneca County Sheriff’s Office said the results of the one-day eradication were surprising because in previous years, the number of collected plants ranged between 100 and 600.

“The least we ever found in the last 15 years was 100 plants,” Joseph said. “To find nothing is unusual.”

Joseph said he didn’t know of a specific reason why no plants were found, but said it’s possible drug trends are changing.

“We’ve certainly seen that in our statistics when doing drug buys,” Joseph said. “Here recently, we’ve been tied up with heroin and prescription pills.”

“Maybe marijuana isn’t as much sought after,” he added.

Joseph said a few years ago, 600 plants were confiscated. Last year, 185 plants were found.

The Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification runs the yearly eradication, Joseph said, and a grant from the Drug Enforcement Administration pays for the expenses associated with a Butler County Sheriff’s Office helicopter that is utilized to spot the marijuana aerially.

“They fly over and spot it and once it’s seen, we are called to the area and go in and confiscate it,” he said.

Joseph said law enforcement that assisted Thursday in the eradication included METRICH, Seneca County Sheriff’s Office, Tiffin Police Department, Fostoria Police Department, Bettsville Police Department, Green Springs Police Department and Bloomville Police Department.