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150 MATURE MARIJUANA PLANTS SEIZED IN EVANS

A crop of mature marijuana plants was harvested Tuesday in the Town of Evans, yielding an estimated 20 pounds of "pot" that could have sold for about $40,000, according to police estimates.

Police were directed, from the air, to two very large fields planted with marijuana. Each of the estimated 150 plants was between 6 and 7 feet tall, Evans Police Lt. Samuel DeJohn said.

"Those are some of the biggest plants I have ever seen," he said. "They had to have been planted early in the spring" after having been cultivated indoors.

"Each one of those plants . . . has the potential to yield 1 pound or more of marijuana," DeJohn said, noting that the street price for a pound of marijuana is between $2,000 and $2,500.

DeJohn said police had a couple of tips regarding possible marijuana fields: one off Sturgeon Point Road, which did not pan out, and the fields off Eden-Evans Center Road, where police struck pay dirt.

The fields were noticed from a helicopter piloted by Capt. Kevin Caffery of the Erie County Sheriff's Department, who routinely helps police agencies on such reconnaissance flights.

"Without that (the helicopter) we'd be sunk," DeJohn said. "We would have never found this field . . . without the helicopter."

Because of the crops' location in a wooded field, police had to be guided in by the helicopter pilot, DeJohn said.

Police spent the afternoon cutting down the plants, then stripping them of their leaves and stems, DeJohn said. The material will be dried, weighed and tested in the county's Central Police Services laboratory, in the event that the person who planted it is arrested. No arrests were made, but police were continuing their investigation.

After stripping the stalks, DeJohn said, police ended up with about 15 large paper bags full of marijuana, weighing a total of 20 to 25 pounds. The material was to be taken to the Central Police Services laboratory today, he said.

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