Landmark News Service
Kentucky State Police began joint air and ground marijuana eradication efforts in the region this week, making a related arrest and substantial find Monday after spotting a pot patch.
The annual eradication efforts by Post 4 employ a Bell UH-1 helicopter flying over an eight-county region, which includes LaRue. A spotter trained to identify the illegal plant from above is part of the flight crew.
Once the location of a suspected pot patch is identified from the air, a ground team is sent in to investigate, seize or destroy plants, and make any arrests.
According to KSP Post 4 spokesman Bruce Reeves, 212 illegal plants found Monday belonged to Mark T. Heady — a 39-year-old Elizabethtown man renting a home and property on Battle Training Road.
Heady was taken into custody Monday evening and jailed on felony charges of cultivating and trafficking marijuana, and a weapons charge. According to a KSP news release, Heady has a prior felony conviction making possession of a firearm illegal.
Outdoor plants found in early summer rarely have produced marijuana buds – the part of a plant containing the highest concentration of pot’s active ingredient, delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. Because of the lack of buds, marijuana found during early summer eradication efforts can be cut and left on the ground to die.
Post 4 typically has use of the helicopter for about three separate weeks each year, including fall months when mature outdoor pot can be found.
Flying in and out of Elizabethtown’s Post 4 at the intersection of Interstate 65 and U.S. 62, and regional airports for refueling, the helicopter is highly visible throughout the eradication effort.
The helicopter also is used by other KSP posts statewide for the same purpose.
Last year’s first week of eradication resulted in the destruction of more than 2,500 plants at 67 different plots, four arrests, 13 criminal charges filed and seizure of two animal traps, two pounds of processed marijuana and 17 grams of methamphetamine found during the execution of a search warrant at one suspected grower’s home.
Anyone with tips on the whereabouts of suspected marijuana patches may contact KSP Post 4 at (270) 766-5077.