Marijuana-growing operations uprooted

July 25, 2014
Some of the nearly 800 marijuana plants seized in an eradication program led this week by the Washington County District Attorney’s Drug Task Force - Photo provided by Washington County District Attorney’s Drug Task Force

Nearly 800 full-grown marijuana plants were uprooted in Washington County this week as the result of an aerial investigation revealed Friday by the Washington County district attorney.

District Attorney Gene Vittone said most of the plants were discovered growing along utility rights of way and forest glades where there was sufficient sunlight to allow them to thrive.

Investigators using specialized equipment were able to see growing operations from the air, allowing police on the ground to move in and seize the plants, which were then destroyed, Vittone said.

“Under current Pennsylvania law, growing marijuana plants is a felony,” he said. “It is also part of the illegal drug trade, with all of its associated violence.”

Some of the plants were found inside Washington city limits, while others were located in Carroll and South Strabane townships, Vittone said.

Assisting in the investigation were state police, the Pennsylvania National Guard Counter Drug Unit, the state Game Commission and the Civil Air Patrol.

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley. He has a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's from Duquesne University. Scott spent three weeks in Vietnam in 2004 as a foreign correspondent under an International Center for Journalists fellowship.

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