#036;52K in pot plants seized

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 21, 2003

Covington County is a little freer of drugs thanks to quick thinking by two people and a telephone call to the Covington County Sheriff's Department Sunday afternoon to report the discovery of marijuana plants growing near the Jackson Entry to the Covington Management Area in the southern part of the county.

According to Deputy Greg Jackson and Sheriff Anthony Clark, deputies were notified around 6:30 p.m. Sunday that the two unidentified informants had discovered a patch of marijuana growing in a marshy, wooded area in the management area.

"When we got the call, the two had actually contacted the Coffee County authorities, who informed them it was actually in Covington County and then they notified us," said Deputy Greg Jackson. "Deputy Lance Tindol of the Coffee County Sheriff's Department had been tipped off and was of great assistance to us in this discovery."

Getting to the marijuana plants was no easy feat, Jackson said, as deputies had to wade through thick woods and fight mosquitoes.

"We waded through marshes, dense woods and the mosquitoes were really bad," Jackson said. "We were lucky that Deputy Scotty Ballard had some bug spray, but there were so many mosquitoes, it didn't help a lot."

As for how the two found the plants, Jackson said they had been out searching for land to bow hunt on when deer season rolls around.

"They were just out looking for good spots to hunt in when they came across these plants," he said. "We have no reason to believe they knew the plants existed prior to this discovery."

A total of 26 plants were recovered, and had an estimated street value of $52,000 said Sheriff Anthony Clark.

"Everyone should be glad that we've gotten more drugs off the streets in Covington County," Clark said. "The plants weren't very mature, but some of them were at least 6-feet tall."

Clark also said he and his officers tried to contact the 22nd Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force, but due to the location of the area, that was nearly impossible.

"We tried to contact the DTF, but where the plants were located made it difficult," he said. "Our link service was not the best down there, and there was an approaching storm which also hindered our attempts. We're just glad we were able to get the plants and keep them off the streets. These two individuals found the plants on government land and I thought it was best to just go ahead and get the plants out of circulation."