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Police use National Guard helicopter to find more than 700 pot plants
BY PORTSIA SMITH
Aerial drug busts in Westmoreland County led to one arrest and the confiscation of more than 700 marijuana plants.
According to Westmoreland Sheriff C.O. Balderson, the bust was conducted over two days by the Tri-County Task Force. It started on Monday using a National Guard helicopter. About 365 marijuana plants were found growing near Montross Middle School.
Donald D. Henderson, 54, of Montross was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school zone and possession of marijuana with intent to manufacture. He was being held at Northern Neck Regional Jail without bond.
On Friday, a second aerial surveillance was performed in three areas of the county, Balderson said. He said 147 plants were located in Montross, 300 plants in Zacata and nine plants in Kinsale. The street value of the 721 plants confiscated this week is nearly $2 million, Balderson said. This is based on a Virginia State Police estimate that a mature plant is worth $3,000. The confiscated plants varied in size from 8 inches to 5 feet, Balderson said.
The Tri-County Task Force is composed of deputies from Caroline, King George and Westmoreland counties, as well as the Virginia State Police.
The Richmond County and Northumberland County sheriff’s offices, Drug Enforcement Agency, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and Haynesville Correctional Center also assisted.
The investigation is ongoing and more arrests are pending, Balderson said.
Portsia Smith: 540/540/374-5419