Roy Miller, Fulton County sheriff, said 543 marijuana plants were eradicated in Fulton County during a recent five-county effort.
The figure is by far the highest of any of the five counties in which the program was conducted.
“We’re always a high (plant count) county,” Miller said.
The eradication effort, conducted during the week of Aug. 12, involved units with the Multi-Area Narcotics Task Force (MAN Unit), the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, and other local agencies.
A helicopter from the Butler County (Cincinnati area) sheriff department flew over Fulton, Henry, Defiance, Williams and Paulding counties.
A total of 1,160 marijuana plants were seized. MAN Unit officials estimated the total value of plants at about $1.74 million.
Miller said 219 marijuana plants were found in Williams County, 161 in Henry County, 143 in Putnam County, and 15 in Defiance County.
Additionally, MAN Unit officials said in a press release 79 plants were found in plot in Paulding County, Miller said.
Additionally, the helicopter crew spotted marijuana plants growing along the Fulton and Henry county borders with Lucas County, and across the state line in Michigan.
Miller said at times there are scheduling conflicts with available helicopters, so in the past, fixed-wing aircraft were used.
Because airplanes can’t hover like helicopters, it can be more difficult to spot marijuana plants from a plane. Miller said even when fixedwing aircraft are used, offi- cers will still find 200 to 250 plants in Fulton County.
The press release states two men were arrested in Putnam County on drug charges in connection with the effort. Charges also are expected against three persons in each of Henry and Williams counties, two in Lucas County, and two in Paulding County.
Miller said no criminal charges are anticipated in Fulton County.
He said, often, marijuana is planted among other crops, along woods, etc., without the knowledge of the landowner.
“A lot of times, we’ll get calls from farmers, ‘Heard you were doing some work in my field, just wanted you to know it wasn’t me,’” Miller said.
Miller said Fulton County just recently rejoined the MAN Unit, after having dropped out a few years.
When a county joins the MAN Unit, one deputy is dedicated to the unit fulltime.
Miller said he didn’t know exactly why Darrel Merillat, former Fulton County sheriff, pulled out of the MAN Unit. But, he said, it seemed the Fulton County officer was spending most of his time in Defiance County.
Miller said when he rejoined MAN, he worked out an agreement that the Fulton County deputy would spend five days out of ten working in Fulton County.
The MAN Unit offers other benefits, he said, including training opportunities and information sharing.
Other agencies working with the airborne effort were deputies from the Fulton, Williams, Henry, and Putnam sheriff departments, and the Wauseon Police Department.