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Marijuana growers keep police guessing

FruityBud

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Marijuana is the most popular illicit recreational drug in the country, authorities say, and getting rid of it means going after the roots with shovels and machetes.

Between 2004 and 2009, more than 38 million marijuana plants were eradicated from indoor and outdoor growing sites in America, according to statistics from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Though the vast majority of those plants were discovered and removed from outdoor locations, the number of indoor grow sites — as well as outdoor — has more than doubled since 2004.

In 2010, the DEA Domestic Cannabis Eradication and Suppression Program collected 1,394 plants from 48 indoor marijuana growing operations in Louisiana. They destroyed 3,075 plants from 62 outdoor plots that same year.

Shreveport police collected 142,750 grams of marijuana in 2010 — $1,427,500 worth.

On April 22, agents from the Caddo-Shreveport Narcotics Task Force seized 189 marijuana plants at various growth stages from a house in the 200 block of Bruce Avenue off Southfield Road in Shreveport.

Neighbors said the residents — John Hoogland, 48, Dlisa Sanders, 43, and Johnthan Hoogland, 18 — lived there for more than a year before police caught wind of their operation. Neighbors said they were suspicious of the constant all-hours comings and goings of strangers to the residence, but never called police until Sanders was accused of causing a row with neighbors April 22.

Police discovered the plants tucked away inside a walk-in closet and outside in a small greenhouse. Agents on the scene said they'd clearly been growing for some time because of the maturity of some of their plants and set up.

Indoor growing

Growing marijuana isn't a new phenomenon, but the quality of the product and the resources dedicated to production have advanced — as might be expected of any successful business.

"In many areas of the U.S., cultivators have been forced to abandon large outdoor cannabis plots in favor of smaller, better concealed illicit gardens," according to U.S. DEA DCE/S Program reports. "Additionally, cultivators have turned to sophisticated technology to cultivate cannabis plants indoors."

Caddo-Shreveport Narcotics Task Force agent Lt. Carl Townley has had more than 20 years experience working against the illicit drug trade. He said he's seen a real transition from outdoor growing operations to indoor set ups — and the quality of the marijuana has improved for it.

"It's a science to them," Townley said.

Indoor heating lamps, hydroponic growing labs, ventilation fans and constant attention from growers often living among the plants has transformed the product, Townley said. He said the level of THC (the active substance in marijuana) has dramatically risen as cultivation techniques improved.

Indoor plants can grow quicker and healthier because of these techniques, which don't rely on outdoor weather conditions, Townley said.

It isn't rare to find large growing operations in residential neighborhoods like Bruce Avenue, Townley said. Though there is a smell associated with growing marijuana, he said it's distinct from the odor from smoking the plant's buds. He said sometimes people just don't recognize it.

Townley said his unit busts six to eight indoor grow operations a year.

He said, under the right conditions, a marijuana seed can mature into a grown plant within 60 to 90 days.

Outdoor growing

Marijuana cultivation outdoors remains prominent, and open air spaces can allow illicit gardeners to generate hundreds, even thousands of plants at a time — assuming they can keep them hidden from authorities.

Though these outdoor plots can be hidden just about anywhere, public lands are increasingly popular sites, according to U.S. DEA DCE/S Program reports.

"Public lands are often used for cannabis cultivation because drug-trafficking organizations benefit from the remote locations that seemingly limit the chance of detection and allow them to maintain such activities without ownership of any land that can be seized," the reports said.

Bossier Parish sheriff's office spokesman Ed Baswell said police find between 10 and 15 outdoor operations in a given year. He said the average outdoor grow site contains 20 to 30 plants, but could vary from a single plant to hundreds.

They're more often on private land in Bossier Parish, he said, but are tucked away in the remotest location available. Baswell said privacy and secrecy are the qualities outdoor growers are looking for.

He said entire fields of marijuana aren't common in Bossier Parish. Sometimes plants start their growth cycle indoors before growers move them to outdoor plots, Baswell said.

Growing the plants is relatively simple, Baswell said, requiring just what's needed for about any plant — sunlight, fertilizer and water.

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Old_SSSC_Guy

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oh fer christsakes... a '20 year veteran cop' says that heat lamps are used in a grow? guess he thinks a grow is an incubator for tiny marijuana eggs, which are hatched in all those 'hydroponic growing lab' places he's found.

i must be really behind on the learning curve. where can i get me some of them there marijuana eggs? better yet - gimme that chicken!
 

bho_expertz

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Old_SSSC_Guy said:
oh fer christsakes... a '20 year veteran cop' says that heat lamps are used in a grow? guess he thinks a grow is an incubator for tiny marijuana eggs, which are hatched in all those 'hydroponic growing lab' places he's found.

i must be really behind on the learning curve. where can i get me some of them there marijuana eggs? better yet - gimme that chicken!

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
 

Hamster Lewis

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I have marijuana eggs for sale but the are expensive......:D
 

The New Girl

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I have the goose that lays the golden egg - Columbian Gold that is...
 

OGKushman

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i just plant magic dirt i got for trade for my cow and overnight i get plants that grow into the clouds. Grows so quick, like 1000 lbs overnight, that cops dont have time to notice!

Clones are a meeeeelion dollars :fly:
 

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