SLED Chopper Sounds Alarm on Grow-Op

The ‘Eye in the Sky’ doesn’t lie, and last week that ‘Eye’ led Fairfield County Sheriff’s investigators to a field of some very mature – and valuable – marijuana plants.

A State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) helicopter on patrol over southern Fairfield County on the afternoon of Aug. 2 spotted the field on Cowhorn Road, just off Highway 321 S. near the Richland County line. Agents in the helicopter also spotted someone in the field and put the call out to the Sheriff’s Office. By the time the bloodhounds were deployed and a perimeter established, the suspect had made their escape, but what that individual left behind kept agents busy for the rest of the afternoon.

The Sheriff’s Office said their agents cleared 3 acres of marijuana, totaling 631 plants with an estimated street value of $2,000 each. That adds up to more than $1.2 million in marijuana eradicated in a single afternoon.

The plants were in an advanced stage of maturity, the Sheriff’s Office said, with an average estimated height of 8 to 10 feet. The field bore many of the same characteristics of a field wiped out by a multi-county task force in mid-July near Highway 200 and I-77, the Sheriff’s Office said, but they did not locate any concrete evidence in the Aug. 2 raid to definitively link the two operations.