40,000 Marijuana Plants Recovered in Carroll County

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BERRYVILLE, Ark. – More than 40-thousand marijuana plants were recently discovered during an aerial search effort in northern Arkansas.

The massive haul was from an undisclosed location in the southern portion of Carroll County, in what’s believed to be the largest amount of marijuana ever recovered in the county’s history.

During a press conference Friday, the Sheriff’s Department showcased some three thousand plants that were kept as evidence.

“We believe it was previously a harvested area, I don’t know historically if that happened or not, but we had been out there last year and there was some there,” says Carroll County Sheriff, Randy Mayfield.

“So these came up on their own this year,” he says.

Mayfield says no charges will stem from the bust because the plants weren’t being cultivated.

He says last year, a person who has recently purchased the same piece of land noticed two people running away from the field in the middle of the night. Law enforcement was called in and the dope, albeit a much smaller amount, was eradicated.

Mayfield believes left over seeds from the previous effort combined with heavy rains this year resulted in the large amount. He is hopeful the combination of a brush hog and herbicides will keep future growth at bay.

“I think [the amount discovered] gets less every year – the amount that’s grown locally,” Mayfield says. “I think it gets imported more now.”

“Historically, I think [the DEA] used to be pretty busy when they flew but this was the only marijuana grow they found Wednesday,” he says, “and they flew the whole county.”

The Drug Enforcement Agency, who assisted in the aerial search, keeps annual figures on the number of plants found during outdoor eradication efforts. Across the state of Arkansas, the numbers vary greatly from year to year.

2015: 14,726

2014: 75,988

2013: 2,583

2012: 522

2011: 50,359

While some may see it as ironic that the eradication comes just a few months after the state voted to legalize marijuana for medicinal use, Mayfield says at the Federal Level, it’s still considered a Schedule I drug.

“The legislature will do what they do and the voters will,” he says, “but right now, it’s still illegal to grow marijuana. So, until that changes… we will eradicate it when we can.”

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