Plants in plain sight: ISP takes ABC57 to find marijuana
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Drug busts. We all hear about them and see them on true crime TV shows. But do we ever know how it happened or what lead up to it?
ABC57 News exclusively rode along with Indiana State Police as they hunted to find marijuana plants, lurking in plain sight.
On the outskirts of South Bend, cornfields are not a strange sight. Some stalks reaching heights of ten feet.
But in the middle of one particular stretch, is a hole. A hole filled with planted marijuana.
"[It's] typical of this kind of grow, where the grower destroys a portion of the farmer's crop and damages their income," says Master Trooper Brian Hoffman.
This is what he, and the rest of the Marijuana Eradication Team with Indiana State Police, do.
They find and remove the still illegal plants.
"We find marijuana pretty much anywhere where you think you can hide a plant and it won't be located," he explains. "Anywhere someone thinks they can put a plant where it won't be found by another person walking through the woods or by the police."
What they do find, is quite a lot.
"Each pound of marijuana can sell up to $2,000. So if you have 8-10 plants here, you can get anywhere from $15,000-$20,000," says Trooper Hoffman.
Troopers search high and low, with planes and by foot, to find these green buds.
"[We find] between 2,000-3,000 plants in St. Joseph County alone. That's just the outdoor plants," he adds.
After just a couple of stops, there was quite a bit of green in the bed of the truck.
"We're probably looking at $30-40,000 here," he says. "We get between 50-80,000 plants a year statewide."
It's a lot of work to get this controversial cannabis, so why do it?
"We make several arrests locate several gums and other types of investigations that lead us to methamphetamine, heroin, child pornography, and things of that nature," says Trooper Hoffman.
He believes, that alone, is worth it. And so do others.
"Someone will approach me and ask about my shirt and then thank me for still combating marijuana," he adds. "They'll express their concerns with it and share their stories about how it affected their family."