Flyover yields over 300 pot plants
Local authorities seized 336 marijuana plants from multiple locations across Haywood County after a helicopter fly over Monday.
Agents from the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office, State Bureau of Investigation and Highway Patrol decided to perform the eradication after getting information from concerned citizens.
They found patches of marijuana growing in the Turkey Creek area, Buckeye Cove, Hyder Mountain and off Riverside Drive in Fines Creek.
“The locations ranged from steep mountainous terrain to marijuana plants in silage corn fields, near personal gardens and in yards of residences,” said Det. Mark Mease with the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office.
Brian Shane Smith, 45, and Michael Brian Smith, 17, were arrested after officials found 197 plants in various stages of growth in and around their home in the Fines Creek community.
Brian Shane Smith was charged with possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver marijuana and maintaining a dwelling place for a controlled substance. Both suspects were charged with manufacturing marijuana.
The investigation is ongoing pending possible forthcoming charges.
"In years past, the growing of marijuana has moved indoors for the more valuable “hydro” grown marijuana," Mease said. "But in the last two years we have seen an increase in outdoor grows and some in large amounts."
Chopper pilots are specially trained to spot marijuana patches, which growers typically camouflage so they cannot be seen easily from the ground.
Law enforcement go in on foot while the chopper aids in security for the ground crews and watch for other activity during the eradication process, Mease said.