Police Bust Marijuana Farm

Police Bust Marijuana Farm The first day of fall means the beginning of the harvest season for marijuana growers. They have to harvest the illegal crop before the first frost.

But police in South Jersey are working hard to get to the crops first.

NBC 10 was with New Jersey State Police when they found an illegal pot garden in Fairfield Township, Cumberland County Wednesday.

"We call this hope dope," said Det. Sgt. Bill Peacock.

Some of the plants were 7 feet tall and were planted in the spring. The plants were spotted growing on state land from a helicopter.

"This is the busiest time of the year, everybody wants to get their crop," said Peacock.

Police have had help uprooting marijuana plants in the past few weeks from the National Guard. They've hauled off some 400 plants in south Jersey.

Authorities say each plant produces about a pound of pot that is worth close to $2,000 on the street.

"Because the penalties in New Jersey are so stiff, they seem to be spreading out their marijuana a little bit further and putting it in more inaccessible places," said Peacock. "The only thing we have to do is work harder to just to try to find it."

The marijuana is taken to the state police lab in Trenton and eventually will be burned.

The grower who has been planting in Fairfield Township has not been caught yet. But police say they will make sure that someone knows this pot grove has had a visit.

"We'll usually just mess it up for them so if they come back next year, they'll have a little bit more work," said Peacock.

State police say so far this year, they have made arrests in about half of the cases like this one.

Police say rewards are given for helping authorities seize growing marijuana. You can call a 24-hour hotline if you have any information. That number is 1-888-798-WEED.

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Author: Copyright 2004 by NBC10.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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