Law enforcement agencies working in Nelson County on Tuesday seized more than 5,400 marijuana plants with an estimated value of more than $16 million.
Agents from the Virginia State Police and the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control discovered six different plots of marijuana plants in the areas of Howardsville, Roseland, Tyro and Schuyler, said Keith Kincaid, a senior special agent with the Virginia State Police.
Most were smaller amounts, with fewer than 100 marijuana plants on each piece of land. But the largest amount was found in Schuyler, Kincaid said, where agents discovered 5,204 marijuana plants in one area.
“It was in an extremely secluded area,” Kincaid said. “There were no houses in the vicinity and no indications that someone was staying there.”
Kincaid called the find “pretty large.”
“Last week, we found over 6,250 in Buckingham County,” he said. “We used to think 100 plants was a decent size grow. Now we’re finding every once in a while these 5,000-, 7,000- or 8,000-plant grows.”
Over two days last August, the Virginia State Police and the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office seized more than 14,000 marijuana plants, valued at more than $44 million, in an eradication bust that was the largest in the state that year.
Kincaid said the eradication effort was a yearlong project, but during the summer months the agencies use helicopters to see the marijuana plants by air as they reach maturity.
“We try to use a lot of intelligence from sources and ground work,” he said. “Most of what we saw (Tuesday) was from the air. Just flying over the whole county and seeing it.”
Arrests are pending as the investigation into each plot of marijuana plants continues, according to a news release Tuesday by the Virginia State Police.
Marijuana eradication efforts take place annually as part of the Governor’s Initiative Against Narcotics Trafficking (G.I.A.N.T.), a collaborative effort among state agencies to stop marijuana production and distribution within the commonwealth.
Kincaid said the agencies plan to continue those efforts.
“It was some pretty decent numbers we put up (Tuesday),” he said. “But there’s a lot more out there.”