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What you need to know for 11/24/2017

Large quantities of marijuana seized in 3 counties

Large quantities of marijuana seized in 3 counties

350 plants discovered at Minden property
Large quantities of marijuana seized in 3 counties
Marijuana plants found in Minden raid.
Photographer: Provided

MINDEN — State police Wednesday seized more than 350 marijuana plants from a Minden property, the third such large marijuana seizure from region law enforcement announced as the growing season winds down.

State police raided the property Wednesday morning and arrested Beth A. Kowalski, 38, of Fort Plain.

They found the plants both inside and outside of the home, as well as processed marijuana, a scale and human growth hormone products.

Kowalski faces felony criminal possession of marijuana and misdemeanor unlawful growing of marijuana. She was released to return to court later. Further arrests are expected. 

The state police raid follows large seizures in the past week by Saratoga County and Schoharie County sheriff's investigators of marijuana growing in rural areas or fields. Saratoga County investigators seized 450 plants, while Schoharie County investigators seized 55.

Neither county's seizures have resulted in arrests, but the investigations are ongoing.

A hunter alerted the Schoharie County Sheriff's Office last week about a marijuana patch discovered in a swamp on South Mountain State Forest land in the town of Conesville, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Rangers, deputies and local officers then investigated, found the one patch and discovered two more patches nearby, according to the DEC and county Sheriff Tony Desmond.

Small marijuana patch in a swamp on South Mountain State Forest in the town of Conesville.jpg
(Provided)

Investigators removed the plants and took them for evidence.

Desmond said such finds are a regular occurrence this time of year.

"It's rural country," he said. "There are a lot of isolated spots."

Anyone with information on the Conesville find or other similar activity is asked to contact the Schoharie County Sheriff's Office tip line at 518-295-2295.

The Saratoga County Sheriff's Office announced its haul Monday. The department has done a three-day sweep through the county by helicopter in recent years, acting on tips and other information. This year, they were assisted by state police.

They found a number of plants throughout the county that they valued at potentially $900,000. They found the plants in various areas, including corn fields and other areas, Sheriff Michael Zurlo said.

"We get anonymous tips through our website and phone calls giving us ideas on different locations where they may be," Zurlo said.

Investigators in the air then relay their sightings to those on the ground, who recover the marijuana. Investigations are ongoing.

All the plants have since been destroyed, Zurlo said.

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