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Harnett County deputies make another large pot bust

Posted July 21, 2008

— Harnett County authorities have made another large marijuana bust – their second since June.

Aerial Reconnaissance Inc., based in Charlotte, found the plants in the northwest section of the county while conducting aerial surveillance for the sheriff’s office.

"It’s hard and difficult to locate marijuana ... More so than people think,” Harnett County Sheriff Larry Rollins said.

At least 5,000 plants, with a street value of $12 million, were growing near Hollie Pines and Holly Springs roads.

“We’re asking anyone in this particular area who has noticed any suspicious activity or vehicles, people they don’t typically see or know,” to come forward, Rollins said.

The latest bust is only three miles from where marijuana plants, with a street value of $84 million, were discovered growing off Womack Road.

"We were concerned after finding that big (of an) operation that there were others operating in our county,” Rollins said.

It is not yet clear whether the latest marijuana operation is linked to last month's bust. In both cases, Rollins said he suspects drug dealers hired Mexican migrant workers as caretakers for the property.

"They recruit Hispanics, Mexican nationals, that actually come out of Mexico and just stay there. That's their work,” Rollins added. “This may only be a green vegetable-material plant, but along with that comes other crime. We know that there are organized crime units that are doing big operations like this. It’s not just about the marijuana.”

A $5,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest in each bust.

"If there's more here, we're gonna find it, and if they keep planting it in Harnett County, we're going to catch them before it's over with,” Rollins added.

Please call the Harnett County Sheriff's Office at 910-893-7132 if you have any knowledge of the marijuana operations.

According to a study, North Carolina is the No. 6  marijuana-producing state in the country. In 2006, almost $1 billion worth of marijuana was grown.

Over a 3-year period, marijuana was the top cash crop in the state. Marijuana is the top crop in 12 states and ranks among the top three in 30 states.


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  • familyfour Jul 22, 2008

    So, what happens when they find marijuana in a field like this? Who do they charge? Is it possible to charge anyone?

    Not sure about all the answers, but I do know that if the actual owner of the property is not found to be linked, he is not liable.

    It is not uncommon for people to use property that does not belong to them (especially wooded areas). Growing is one use, but people illegally hunt, fish, etc on property belonging to others. It is very hard to keep people off what does not belong to them, especailly when they think no one is looking!

  • familyfour Jul 22, 2008

    Not saying one way or the other, but those plants could grow to the sky, and never blow up and KILL someone.

    The paraphenalia could not be touched by an innocent child leaving a burn that eats through the skin, and it doesn't take a special operations unit in breathing apparatuses and suits to go decontaminate the area.

    I would feel much safer knowing that was a meth lab bust, 'cause the people using/making that stuff are DANGEROUS.

  • Gork Jul 21, 2008

    Has everyone lost their minds? Does it really make sense to keep this up? In the meantime we don't have enough probation officers or police to keep violent criminals from "falling through the cracks" and killing people?

    I challenge anyone, "LEO" or anyone, to document a violent incident or a traffic accident with injuries resulting from anyone smoking pot.

    Has everyone lost their minds?

  • Guy Jul 21, 2008

    Back in the 90's so much cash was vanishing that the Federal Reserve Board started tracing the cash. Billions found its way to Miami and to the border of Mexico. Why are we supporting other countries with a very lucrative crop that we could be taxing ? It's Al Capone all over again but in this case we are supporting other countries.

  • Dismald Jul 21, 2008

    If its ever legalized, nobody would be able to afford it! Anyway its all Just another example of how the Govt. has to save the people from themselves.

  • Likestobearrogant Jul 21, 2008

    sweettee717, sorry hear you can't enjoy 4:20 anymore, bet if it was legal u could!

  • sweettee717 Jul 21, 2008

    HELLO????? Good enough reason to me for them to make it legal. Look at the money it could make for the state or whatever.

    Too bad I can't enjoy when 4:20 comes around anymore... :(

  • AdeputiesWife Jul 21, 2008

    Keep on getting it harnett county deputys.......your the best

  • Common Sense Man Jul 21, 2008

    Is it really a "bust" if you don't have any suspects?

  • Likestobearrogant Jul 21, 2008

    In 31 minutes it will be 4:20 guess what I will be doing? I better conserve...... thanks again pot snatchers.