Pilots Learning How to Identify Marijuana Fields

By Powder_Reality · Jul 5, 2006 · ·
  1. Powder_Reality
    Aerial School on Marijuana Teaches How to Spot Plants
    by Ben Brown, (30 Jun 2006) Ukiah Daily Journal California
    Pilots from law enforcement agencies throughout the country have been in Mendocino County this week learning to identify marijuana gardens from the air at the Aerial Observation School.

    Forty-two students from across California and as far away as the East Coast have been flying above Mendocino County's national forests and private forest land learning to spot the illegal gardens.

    "It's the biggest class we've run," said Rusty Noe, commander of the County of Mendocino Marijuana Eradication Team.

    Pilots and students fly deep into the forests and try to find marijuana gardens that Noe and members of COMMET have already identified. Noe said marijuana gardens can be recognized from the air because they are a different color than forest undergrowth and the plants are laid out in an ordered fashion..

    Because of their size, Noe said he had seen gardens as large as half a mile across; pilots can often identify them from as high as 500 or 600 feet. Noe said it is actually easier to recognize marijuana gardens from higher up because it gives officers a fuller view of the area.

    "The lower you fly, the harder it is to see it," Noe said.

    Mendocino County has been hosting the observation school since 1998 with the help of the Butte County Sheriff's Department, Placer County law enforcement, the National Guard and the Drug Enforcement Agency, among others.

    "The whole situation is a collaborative effort," Noe said.

    Mendocino County hosts the school because there are many large marijuana gardens in the area. Officers also come to take advantage of the expertise of Noe and the officers on COMMET.

    Aerial identification of marijuana gardens is essential to fighting the cultivation of marijuana, Noe said. COMMET receives some of its tips from the public, but most large gardens are hidden deep in the woods where people aren't going to see them.

    Noe said he has been seeing more and bigger gardens this year than in previous years. He said he wasn't sure why that might be.

    "It goes in cycles," he said. "This is the year they're going for broke."

    Noe said the heavy rains that plagued Mendocino County until March have slowed the marijuana crop. He said COMMET has been seeing baby plants and plants in nurseries, two things that are almost unheard of this late in the season.

    Smaller plants may mean a later harvest season for many marijuana growers. Normally, the harvest season runs between July and October. It is also during this season that COMMET performs raids on identified marijuana gardens.

    COMMET often works with the California attorney general's Campaign Against Marijuana Planting to raid gardens and eradicate plants. In 2005, CAMP seized and destroyed 1,134,692 marijuana plants, which had an estimated street value of $4.5 billion.

    In 2005, COMMET raided more than 397 marijuana gardens in Mendocino County and eliminated 144,159 marijuana plants.

    The Aerial Observation Training School will continue training through Friday.

    Share This Article


  1. The Doors
    Like it's going to do anything, give it up already, there is no chance in hell that you idiots will take down marijuana cultivation. Keep investing all that money and keep training all these brain washed bozos to make this world a better and sober place.
  2. trip.more
    I know they train helocopter pilots around cali
  3. OccularFantasm
    Swim just finds this really funny. 4.5 billion dollars. Somehow swim thinks that the only reason the price is so inflated is from all these seziures. Silly lil piggies jus wanna look good for their photo-op. I'm sure the police will stop going after such silly things once the thousands and thousands of overseers, er officers, get over their own inaqequcy issues.
  4. Bajeda
    I think they use the per gram price when estimating value of those seizures, and they probably weigh the entire plant too!
  5. Peace Frog
    here here!
  6. Felonious Skunk
    SWIM has always thought it would be quite effective if the California growers got together and started "planting" fields of plastic decoys designed to look like pot plants from the air.

    They could call themselves the County of Mendocino Marijuana Imitation Coalition (COMMIC), and would have the feds bumbling to get warrants and putting together the "seizure teams" only to find clean properties with nice pretty plastic flowers...lol....

    Of course, such a thing would be a major affront to their "authority" and self-importance--it would last just long enough to get on the news and make them look like the fools that they are before they went whining to the lawmakers with cries of "No fair!", and demanding legislation to outlaw "marijuana facsimiles."
  7. darawk
    Or maybe even just fly over forests and dust them with something that shades their leaves the color of marijuana plants ^^.

    It really makes me sick though that they can even find people who are willing to participate and work for a cause like this.
  8. Felonious Skunk
    ^^^^ Well the brainwashing that begins at birth combined with profits realized by running human beings through the judicial/prison industries creates an inexhaustible supply of people who gain great satisfaction from hunting down and incarcerating peaceful and nonviolent gardeners.

    The irony here is if Benjamin Franklin were alive today, it's feasible that he would be among the hunted in this drug crime-crazy world spawned by his greedy and myopic descendents.

    Unfortunately the prison, insurance, and pharmaceutical industries have powerful lobbying capabilities that have made it impossible to legislate the reversal of America's war against itself.

    The only viable options for our homeland's true patriots is continued civil disobedience, bringing as much creativity to the process as possible.
To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!