Sports and Outdoors

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Suspected marijuana operation shut down

Indiana DNR Release:

PERU – Indiana conservation officers and other DNR property personnel have dismantled a suspected marijuana growing operation at Mississinewa Reservoir, destroying nearly 5,300 young plants with an undetermined street value.

“It can only be left up to one’s imagination as to the pounds of marijuana and the dollar amount this site could have yielded had it been tended until maturity and gone undetected,” said Conservation Officer John Salb, a public information officer for the DNR Division of Law Enforcement.

The discovery was made late last week by a mushroom hunter, who notified a Mississinewa Reservoir employee. The employee in turn contacted DNR Conservation Officer Guido Tims about suspicious activity near Red Bridge State Recreation Area on the south side of the reservoir.

Tims made the initial investigation of the site in an area of dense vegetative cover and quickly determined it had been abandoned due to a large amount of perishable food items left to rot at a makeshift campsite.

“We had two factors in our favor that stopped this operation in its early stages,” Salb said. “One being an individual who made a decision to get involved, and the other that our suspects probably didn’t expect mushroom hunters to be invading their growing areas.”

Tims and other conservation officers eventually uncovered two hand-cut clearings, one measuring 25 by 100 yards and the other 25 by 150 yards. In addition, the officers found six large growing plots of marijuana sprouting from peat pots and other crude growing containers. Plant sizes ranged from seedlings to nearly 4 inches tall. The site also contained hand tools, backpack sprayers, fertilizer and animal repellants.

Conservation officers sifted through items left in the abandoned tents and turned evidence, including the plants, over to the Indiana State Police.
Mississinewa Reservoir personnel and the Indiana State Police assisted in the two-day effort.

“This situation should be a reminder to mushroom hunters, hikers, mountain bikers and anyone else who come across something of a suspicious nature in the outdoors,” said Lt. Mark Farmer of DNR Law Enforcement. “Don’t take matters into your own hands. Contact a conservation officer.”

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