Schoharie County

National Guard helicopter leads police to massive haul of pot in Summit

Police in a helicopter first discovered 100 plants growing on private property off Eminence Road, th

A stench like sour grass clippings and dead skunk hung over the parking lot at the Schoharie County public safety facility Thursday as media and police gawked at the massive haul of marijuana confiscated in Summit the day before.

Schoharie County sheriff’s Inv. Nelson Armlin declined to provide many details about precisely where they found it, but he said police in a helicopter first discovered 100 plants growing on private property off Eminence Road. From there, investigators sniffed out a “structure” where they found a stash that included at least 200 gallon-sized plastic bags filled with processed marijuana.

Armlin said police haven’t had a chance to weigh or count all the pot, and it’s unclear yet what the street value might be. Police were narrowing their search to a suspect, he said.

The stash was so big it wouldn’t fit on the plastic table the Sheriff’s Department uses to display such finds, so police laid the 100 freshly-cut plants out in the parking lot. Behind those, plastic bags chock full of cannabis were stacked about 3 feet high in front of a table covered with more marijuana in bags and jars as well as dozens of envelopes containing marijuana seeds. Beneath the table were dozens of grocery bags filled with loose marijuana.

Police agencies in Fulton, Montgomery and now Schoharie counties have announced a successful marijuana eradication effort bolstered by the help of the New York National Guard Counterdrug Task Force based out of the 109th Airlift Wing in Glenville.

Air National Guard Maj. Jason Zeliph, who attended a news conference in Schoharie Thursday, said the partnership with local police agencies is looking successful.

“It looks like we did a pretty good job here,” Zeliph said.

It’s the biggest haul of processed marijuana Schoharie County Sheriff Anthony Desmond said he has seen in his 31 years in law enforcement. Desmond still recalls his first marijuana seizure on Election Day in 1969. Back then, the three ounces they found was considered a significant find.

“It’s something else,” Desmond said as he looked over the stash police hauled into the garage with a town dump truck.

Armlin said marijuana is easily visible from the air. Growers sometimes plant marijuana in the middle of corn fields, unbeknownst to farmers who often won’t revisit the field until it’s time to cut the corn. Armlin said farmers sometimes report they’ve run right through a small growing operation while chopping up corn.

Schoharie County District Attorney James Sacket said the size of the haul indicates a major “black market” operation.

Sacket said the use of highly-addictive heroin and prescription pills is also growing in the county. The heroin is of high grade and “relatively cheap,” Sacket said.

“It’s very troubling.”

Categories: Schenectady County

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