Sheriff#039;s Dept. nets 3,000 pot plants in bust

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 17, 2002

It’s spring and that means some people are planting gardens. But one Ironton man’s horticultural pursuits have landed him in hot water with the law.

Lawrence County Sheriff Tim Sexton said Thomas Black, 54, of 1849 North Second St., was arrested Wednesday and charged with growing marijuana.

Deputies confiscated more than 3,000 pot plants from a wooded area on Wayne National Forest property in Elizabeth Township.

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The pot plants were three to five inches high and were growing in starter flats, later to be transplanted for mature growth.

Law enforcement officers had received a tip that someone was growing pot on national forest lands, and went to investigate.

They found the pot, and went to get surveillance equipment to keep tabs on the site. When they returned, they found Black allegedly tending the crop.

Both the sheriff’s office and national forest law enforcement were involved in the arrest.

&uot;Marijuana cultivators choose land not belonging to them, hoping if the marijuana crop is discovered, there is less evidence available to be used against them,&uot; Sexton said. &uot;In the upcoming summer months, our agency will receive additional assistance from the State of Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation during marijuana eradication flyovers.&uot;

Black has been charged with a felony three count of cultivation of marijuana but Sexton said those charges could be upgraded later on. Teresa Moore/The Ironton Tribune