Looking for Marijuana
They come to Mendocino from across the country looking for weed. They even come from other countries like Jamaica. That’s true of the drug buyers and its true of law enforcement. This last week Mendocino has played host to the largest class of Marijuana Spotters ever. That’s right, the DEA provides a school on how to spot marijuana from the air and Mendo is the place they do it. (Could this be because Mendocino grows more pot than Humboldt or is it because they grow it so openly that it’s easier to see there?) According to the Ukiah Daily Journal,
Black helicopters and large, fixed-wing airplanes could be seen in the skies throughout the county Monday through Friday. About 40 students spent their mornings in a classroom and their afternoons in the field, flying over forests, public and recreation lands, timber company holdings and private property, according to Smallcomb.
They flew about 500 feet over the ground, looking for the particular color and shape of marijuana plants, he said. They are also trained to verify what they saw was marijuana once they land, according to Smallcomb.
“If it looks like it’s on public land, we can get the location — the latitude and longitude on a map — and we go eradicate it,” Smallcomb said…
The DEA hosts the class, and the students came from the MCSO, U.S. Forest Service, and other federal, state and county law enforcement agencies from throughout California and neighboring states.
There were about 10 helicopters at the Ukiah Airport for the operation this week, including two from the National Guard and more from the DEA, Placer County and Yuba County. Airplanes from the California Civil Air Patrol were also in the area.
Mendocino County led the state last year in marijuana eradication, with 572,680 marijuana plants eradicated locally, according to Smallcomb.
“A lot (of that) was spotted through the overflight school,” Smallcomb said.