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Authorities find $72M in marijuana in Harnett

Posted August 1, 2008

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— For the third time in two months, authorities have cut down a major marijuana-growing operation in western Harnett County.

The deputies were searching for marijuana Thursday with state Highway Patrol troopers, State Bureau of Investigation agents and the North Carolina National Guard Drug Unit when they found large plots of the illegal plant in a wooded area off of McArthur Road, which is south of U.S. Highway 421 near Broadway, authorities said.

About 30,000 plants were seized, ranging from 1 foot to 6 feet tall. Authorities estimated their value at $ 72 million.

Items to water, fertilizer and protect the plants from animals and insects were seized, and authorities said they found two camp sites with tortillas and other food, personal items like laundry detergent, cooking supplies and tents.

A pot of pork and beans was still hot on the stove when authorities swarmed over the site Thursday afternoon. Maj. Gary McNeill of the Harnett County Sheriff's Office said the workers hired to tend to the crop likely scattered when they saw the National Guard helicopter overhead that was scouting for marijuana in the woods.

Authorities conducted a ground and air search but didn't find any suspects.

In June, authorities pulled up an estimated $120 million in marijuana plants in eight plots off Womack Road. An initial estimate valued the plants at $84 million, but authorities said Friday they wound up with more plants than they first counted.

Last month, another $12 million in marijuana was found near Hollie Pines and Holly Springs roads. Both locations also are near Broadway.

McNeill said authorities believe the same organization is responsible for all three sites, noting they were set up the same way and were located within a few miles of each other.

"We have some information that we're following up on," he said when asked whether authorities have any suspects in the case.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Harnett County Sheriff's Office tip line at 910-893-0100.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • cragan Aug 1, 2008

    ok so who was the genius that planted 30 000 plants togather maybe next time they should spread them out a little

  • tarheelblue919 Aug 1, 2008

    sorry but i find this kinda funny at all the education on weed in this room, lol

  • ger Aug 1, 2008

    time for a nc referendum on legalizing hemp

  • hemp4victory Aug 1, 2008

    Whatelseisnew, Sorry for your loss, However, I think you would agree that your cousin had other issues, the least of which was smoking pot. Smoking pot did not kill her, heroin abuse killed her. Smoking pot did not lead her to heroin, the life she was living led her to heroin. I've known and still know many smokers, not one of them turned junkie. Of course there are exceptions. In my experiences, addictions are more of a personality disorder at first, then the drugs take over. But a person who is looking for something else will usually find it. Booze is legal and not everyone is a drunk. Cigarettes are legal and not everybody smokes. I lost a very dear friend to alcohol poisoning some years ago, drank himself to death at 24 yrs old, A quart of JD in 30 minutes, Senseless,, but legal.

  • hemp4victory Aug 1, 2008

    Actually there are three distinct varieties of Cannabis, You forgot to mention Cannabis Ruderalis. But anyway, the only difference between Cannabis grown for fiber "Hemp" and Cannabis grown for flower "BUDS" is the "Farming Technique", Just as pine trees are grown close together for timber and farther apart for christmas trees, Cannabis is grown close together for little branching which results in long straight fibers and is harvested before flowering, whereas cannabis grown for flower prodution is grown farther apart which allows the plant to branch out resulting in more flowering sites. Hemp is Cannabis, As far as maturity, cannabis requires at least 12 hrs of complete darkness to begin flowering and then depending on the variety another 45-100 days to reach maximum potency. Depends on variety. So at 13hrs and 55mins of daylight which is where we are at today we are only under 10hrs and 5mins of darkness, Those plants have not even begun to flower. Size/Height is irrelavant

  • WWJGD Aug 1, 2008

    Moderator: please don't post the entry I just sent. I hit enter before I finished.

  • Travised Aug 1, 2008

    Victory, there is Cannabis indica, and Cannabis sativa. Two different plants. One has the active THC chemical in it, the other is normally called hemp (no, or almost none, THC. Cannot cause the effects of the other plant). Most people realize that, but the courts do not sadly.

    Now on to my original post... The raid must have been planned. The six footers were pretty near mature (close to harvest). Those were the only plants that any SANE person can consider viable harvest (usable plants). Three footers or less have no usable chemical product in them. They are worthless. Obviously the courts don't see it that way.

    I totally agree with using Hemp for fuels. It can be made with ease into a diesel. The clothing made with hemp lasts longer than cotton. The ropes made with hemp are longer lasting. The paints they HAD made (no more) were outstanding. So far they have not been able to replicate with substitute materials an equal paint.

  • maryjanefiend Aug 1, 2008

    Hemp, the plant that can save Mother Earth!

    Hemp, could, as a raw material, save the U.S. economy. Would you believe that marijuana could replace most oil and energy needs? That marijuana could revolutionize the textile industry and stop foreign imports?

    Read the REAL story by 20/20 journalist Hugh Downs at:

  • WRAL is joe_dirt Aug 1, 2008

    All the property in Harnett County ain't worth half that.

  • whatelseisnew Aug 1, 2008

    ya reckon
    My dead cousin buried at 30 started out smoking pot as a freshmen in High School. I was a Senior and I found out about it through the HS grapevine. I did my best to convince her to stop. But hey, it was only pot no big deal, she could handle it. Of course, later on she could not handle the heroin addiction and it killed her.