(PIKE COUNTY, Ohio) -- Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced this afternoon the discovery of a major marijuana grow site in Pike County with suspected ties to a Mexican drug cartel.
Agents with the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) and Pike County Sheriff’s Office were ending day-one of a two-day drug eradication effort late yesterday afternoon, when investigators in a helicopter noticed the grow on a hillside. Authorities raided the location off Hickson Road this morning.
“BCI staff are highly trained and skilled in identifying marijuana plants and found more than 12-hundred plants in the beginning stages of growth," said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.
Investigators said they also found evidence of two campsites that they believe likely belonged to Mexican nationals. Both camps were abandoned.
Officers from thirteen area law enforcement agencies worked all day Thursday to remove the plants and burn them. Had the plants been allowed to mature and be sold on the streets, authorities estimate each plant could have been sold for $1,000 to $1,500 apiece.
“We’re doing everything we can in Pike County to fight the war on drugs the best we can,” said Pike County Sheriff Richard Henderson. “There is no way we can do this by ourselves, so we are very grateful to everyone who came together today to help us get these drugs out of our community.”
No arrests have been made, although investigators said evidence left at the scene could help them identify the people responsible.
Other agencies that assisted in the case include the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office, the Ross County Sheriff’s Office, the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office, the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, the Circleville Police Department, the Portsmouth Police Department, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Southern Ohio Corrections Facility Special Response Team, the U.S. 23 Major Crimes Task Force, the Pike County Hazmat Team, and the American Red Cross.
Including the 1,238 plants seized today, BCI and Pike County authorities seized 1,609 marijuana plants over the two-day drug eradication effort.
Dan Tierney: 614-466-3840
Jill Del Greco: 614-466-3840