ALBANY, N.Y. - New York State Police in a helicopter have spotted and seized what they say will end up being more than 8,000 marijuana plants growing in Washington County over a three-day eradication operation.
Helicopters took off from Albany Airport Thursday morning on a mission to find patches of marijuana plants as part of an on-going effort to hunt down illegal growing operations.
According to State Police, the effort which took place Wednesday and Thursday is the largest confirmed marijuana eradication effort Police Aviation has ever been involved in. Around 6,500 marijuana plants were removed in the two-day operation.
Many viewers responded to NEWS10 saying they felt efforts such as this were a "waste of tax payer dollars" or that police "should have different priorities." When NEWS10 reached out for comment on this, state police said, "Marijuana is illegal in New York State. We cannot knowingly allow it to be grown and harvested. If there is marijuana out there, we are obligated to eliminate it."
One helicopter took off from the State Police Aviation Unit Hanger Thursday morning to the rural area of Washington County where police say many pot plants are grown in unsuspecting farmers' fields.
Undersheriff John Winchell of the Washington County Sheriff's Department says they expect 15 arrests to come out of this bust. No arrests were made at this time, police saying the property owners had nothing to do with the growing.
This time is prime harvest time for marijuana plants, and state police know this, planning their eradication efforts around this time. Each year, these state police pilots log around 170 hours state-wide in eradication efforts.
Photos courtesy of New York State Police.