BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio — The Butler County Sheriff’s helicopter was in the air Wednesday throughout the county as part of an annual marijuana eradication effort, according to Major Mike Craft.
All counties conduct investigations annually, including Butler County. This year, 200 plants were found in 22 locations, Craft said.
There were no arrests. Craft said plants found in recent years are in locations with just two or three plants grown in a backyard or field, which is difficult to tie to a specific person, farmer or resident.
The sheriff’s office teams up with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation for the eradication operation, and the department’s helicopter is contracted by BCI for use in 18 counties.
Craft said 200 plants is “a good lick. We used to get thousands, but it all shifted to indoors because of our aviation division. It scared a lot of them off.”
This operation involved officers in the sky looking for marijuana plants, which Craft said are very distinct when mixed with other crops and backyard landscaping. There were no tips about grow operations pointing officers to specific locations, he said.
The helicopter was in the sky eight hours, and officers worked 10 hours yesterday during the operation.
The plants are kept in evidence and destroyed annually, along with other drugs seized.
While eradication efforts don’t net the same results as in past years, Craft said they will continue.
“Because (marijuana) is illegal,” Craft said. “That is about as simple as it can get. It is against the law, and until the law changes, we are going to enforce the law.”