Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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July 10, 2014

KSP prepping for marijuana sweeps

FRANKFORT — Kentucky State Police are preparing for helicopter flights this summer to check rural areas of the state for marijuana plants.

The Messenger-Inquirer (http://bit.ly/1w5uj5y) reports every state police post plans to participate in the sweeps. Officials say while helicopter searches will be performed in every county, the time spent in each one depends on how much of the illegal drug is found in an initial flyover.

Trooper Corey King, public information officer for KSP’s Henderson post, said the annual summer eradication flights have been successful and have cause some growers to flee.

“It’s not uncommon for (the team) to see those who cultivate marijuana coming out west” to escape the scrutiny in Appalachia.

“In eastern Kentucky, we’ll fly 10 to 12 weeks this summer,” said Trooper Paul Blanton, noting that marijuana eradication teams there will search areas such as national forests.

But troopers won’t linger in an area if they don’t find anything.

“If a helicopter spends one day flying one county, or three hours flying one county, and they find nothing, they’ll move on,” Blanton said.

King, who has served on past eradication teams, said the searches can lead to other finds besides marijuana plants.

“When I was on the team years ago, you would find marijuana, but you’d also stumble across other things, like meth labs,” King said.

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