Task force seizes 332 pot plants

story tease

Staff report


The largest seizure of marijuana by the Trumbull Ashtabula Group Law Enforcement Task Force since 2014 was destroyed Thursday when 332 plants with a street value of $332,000 went up in smoke.

Tony Villanueva, TAG commander, said the plants came from a three-day search that included use of a drone, aircraft and officers from numerous law-enforcement agencies that provide personnel to TAG, including Niles, Newton Falls, Cortland, Geneva and the sheriff’s offices of Trumbull and Ashtabula counties.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and U.S. Department of Homeland Security also assisted.

As has been the case in previous years, many of the plants were found in agricultural fields, planted among ordinary crops. Villanueva said he does not believe the farmers are putting them there. In many cases, farmers spotted the plants and reported them to TAG, Villaneuva said.

There is frequently backlash after marijuana is seized and destroyed, but people should remember that “marijuana is still illegal, and it can get into the hands of teens and cause impaired driving,” Villanueva said.

He said no charges have been filed in connection with the marijuana grows, but officers will follow up on some of the finds.

TAG seized close to 1,400 plants in 2014, according to Vindicator files.

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