GATE CITY - More than 400 marijuana plants were found in Scott County recently as Virginia State Police and Virginia Army Air National Guard helicopter crews joined forces for the area's annual marijuana eradication effort.
Scott County Sheriff Jerry Broadwater reported 418 marijuana plants were spotted from the helicopters during the July 31 and Aug. 1 eradication effort.
"The plants were located at different locations throughout the county," Broadwater said. "Suspects have been developed in many of the patches, and prosecution is anticipated."
Local officers from the Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force made up the ground crew of the operation, Broadwater said.
"While scheduled eradication is a valuable part of the total effort to locate and destroy marijuana plants, the sheriff's office welcomes information regarding the location of plants and their growers and will continue to search for plants throughout the growing season," he said.
A similar operation was conducted June 28 in Gate City and Weber City.
It was a multi-jurisdictional eradication effort done with the Weber City Police Department. The Virginia Army Air National Guard's Reconnaissance and Interdiction Detachment conducted surveillance, said Gate City Police Chief Jason Cox.
The effort to spot pot growing in the corner of the county was a joint effort involving the National Guard, Virginia Department of Forestry, ABC, Scott County Sheriff's Department Criminal Investigation Department and the Gate City and Weber City police departments.
"When the county did their eradication, the unit was able to recheck the property in the city," Cox said.
Five plants with an estimated $5,000 street value were found during the first search of Gate City. No plants were found in Weber City, and none were found in Gate City during the second search.
No arrests have been made from the eradication effort, but Cox said there is a suspect.