“In my 40-year career, this is the most I’ve ever seen being grown in one area, and it means there’s probably a lot more out there that we just haven’t found yet,” Richmond County Sheriff Dale Furr said Friday. “You can see why marijuana has become the number one cash crop in North Carolina.”
As well as being prolific, Furr said the new breed of marijuana growers in Richmond County are well-organized and professional.
“We have a lot of transient people who are coming in here and setting plants up, and unless they have to water them, not coming back until the fall to harvest them,” Furr said. “These folks are pretty well organized. They have watering systems they’re setting up and fertilizing them ... But we’ve really hit a lick on them in the past 30 days. We’ve put a hurt on them.”
The three men seen fleeing the latest field to be destroyed by the RCSO remain at large, and the investigation into their identities and whereabouts are on-going.
The more than 26,500 plants involved in the latest seizure adds to the total of more than 36,000 plants from two fields already destroyed over the course of the last month.
“Any landowners who suspects they may have marijuana growing on their land, or notices any unusual activity, is encouraged to call the Richmond County Crimestoppers or the sheriff’s office,” Furr said. “It doesn’t even have to be your land - if you witness anything suspicious contact law enforcement.”
Furr said reports of possible marijuana growing operations will be documented, and the locations put on a list for fly-over searches when helicopters become available.
The Richmond County Crimestoppers can be reached at 997-5454, and the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office can be reached at 997-8283.
Staff Writer Philip D. Brown can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ext. 32, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.