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Authorities Ask Rural Iowans to be Vigilant, Report Hidden Marijuana Grow Operations

DES MOINES, IOWA — In recent weeks, agents with the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, in partnership with local officers, have discovered and eradicated several large, outdoor marijuana growing operations in Southwest and South Central Iowa, and in Northwest Missouri.

Rural land owners, farm workers, and hunters who may be traversing remote and seldom-visited areas in the coming month are advised of the recent marijuana plant seizures.  Common trademarks of recently eradicated marijuana grow operations include:

  • Use of private land owned by individuals unaware of the grow operation;
  • All of the marijuana grow sites have been found in dense timber areas;
  • Marijuana growers live full or part time at the grow site in small, make-shift camps;
  • Grow operators will abandon the site for several weeks if they suspect the operation has been discovered;

If you encounter a location or items that appear suspicious, law enforcement encourage you to leave the area immediately to ensure personal safety.  Be sure to avoid disturbing the area, as items of evidence may be present.  Once at a safe location please call your local law enforcement agency to report what you’ve seen.  There have been no reported violent encounters with marijuana growers, however public safety remains a priority.  Do not take action on your own.

Over the last three weeks, three large marijuana grow operations were detected and eradicated by Iowa law enforcement.  On September 14, 2012, law enforcement eradicated a 3,850 plant marijuana growing operation that had been abandoned in Taylor County, Iowa.  On September 25, 2012, law enforcement eradicated a 571 plant marijuana growing operation in rural Decatur County, Iowa.  Also on September 25, 2012, law enforcement eradicated a 1,124 plant marijuana grow in rural Worth County, Missouri.

Law enforcement officers from the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, Iowa State Patrol, Taylor County Sheriff’s Office, Ringgold County Sheriff’s Office, Decatur County Sheriff’s Office, Lamoni Police Department, and Worth County Sheriff’s Office in Missouri assisted in the eradication of the marijuana grow operations. 

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