Newton County deputies team up with the Missouri National Guard to fly over the county and look for any marijuana growing operations. They found one that deputies say was small, was worth thousands of dollars, but sophisticated.
Newton County law enforcement workers say this marijuana plant-growing bust may not pack a punch...
"We've had some in the last couple of years that were a lot larger than this," says Newton County Chief Deputy Chris Jennings.
But the Newton County Sheriff's Office says this unprocessed marijuana bust is still worth upwards of $12,000. Deputies say it should serve as a warning for any other owners of marijuana crops...
There's a force to be reckoned with.
"This was in cooperation with the national guard, who brought their helicopter down and flew around us," says Jennings.
Pilots of those helicopters seem to have laser vision. Jennings says officials spotted from the air 12 marijuana plants growing outside near a box-shaped crate. The pilots are trained to notice the plants' dark green color.
"This is usually the setting that we find it in," says Jennings.
This rural, residential property near Seneca includes goats, a garden with legal plants, even free-range chickens. Jennings says the property owner, in his late 40's, was forthcoming with law enforcement and guided them to 58 more marijuana plants growing inside his home.
Deputies say there was irrigation control for the plants and an indoor air filter to remove any suspicious smell.
"They had an automatic rail that moved back and forth to give the plants equal lighting," says Jennings.
The suspect hasn't been arrested.
"He's been cooperative," says Jennings.
Photographs of evidence will be given to the county prosecutor, who will decide if charges will be filed against the man.
The Missouri National Guard will conduct air surveillance in other counties, as well. Deputies say components of the light fixtures used to grow this marijuana came from Colorado.
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