(UNDATED) - This summer's lingering drought isn't expected to hurt all crops growing in Indiana cornfields, and the state police want your help in spotting leafy, green growth interspersed with browning, shriveling corn stalks.
Sgt. Noel Houze of the Versailles Post is asking Hoosiers who know of people growing marijuana to report their activities.
"Despite the drought, the marijuana growers are going to take care of their plants and water them," Houze said.
Marijuana growers over the years have shown ingenuity for watering marijuana plants hidden in cornfields and wooded areas, police say, hauling in water and rigging other means to nurture their crops.
"They (marijuana plants) may stick out even more this summer with the drought," Houze said.
The plants may appear greener and larger in a field of corn stunted by the drought, he added.
Houze said police focus their attention on marijuana eradication this time of year as the plants start to mature, and ahead of harvest. Their attack is two-pronged.
"We have guys that will stumble on it in other investigations, and we do have the marijuana eradication team," Houze said. "A couple of years ago, the team found 40,000 plants growing in Switzerland County. That was a record."
Sgt. Jerry Goodin of the Sellersburg Post said the department's marijuana eradication team will search by ground and air in the next several months for indoor marijuana growing operations and marijuana growing wild as well as what's being cultivated outside.
Troopers will fan out across the Sellersburg and Versailles districts, which includes Jackson, Jennings and Bartholomew counties.
Officers destroyed more than 100 plants Tuesday in Scott, Harrison and Clark counties, Goodin said.
Over the past several years, troopers at the Sellersburg post have found thousands of cultivated marijuana plants, made hundreds of arrests and seized assets worth mil¬lions of dollars from offenders, Goodin said.
Each district has a marijuana eradication coordinator. Senior Trooper Noel Kinney represents the Versailles District on that team.
Houze and Goodin said people can improve their com¬munities by turning in drug dealers and those growing marijuana. Tips can remain anonymous.
"We need the public's eyes and ears out there to help us locate not just marijuana and meth, but any other criminal activity," Houze said. "Any kind of drug operation, stolen property or anything else, they can report to us."
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