ANSON COUNTY, N.C. - Sheriff’s deputies and SBI agents raided the backyard of an Anson County home during a marijuana eradication operation.
Deputies called in help from SBI, the National Guard and state troopers to use helicopters to spot the marijuana plants from the sky.
The 537-square-mile county is mostly wooded and rural, which is why authorities said drug dealers often start grow operations there.
"Your bigger plots are found in areas where no one pays much attention," said Major Charlie Little.
After just an hour or so of aerial searches, agents and deputies discovered nearly a dozen plants growing behind a trailer off Camden Road and in the woods nearby.
As authorities seized the young plants, the homeowner told agents he had no idea about the marijuana, despite deputies' statements that there was a clear trail leading from his home to the marijuana in the woods.
"I don't know what to tell you...that property over there belongs to someone else," the homeowner said.
Two years ago, SBI agents and sheriff’s deputies busted a nearly $6 million grow operation in the same section of Anson County, where Hispanic workers were living in tents in a field and tending to more than 13,000 marijuana plants.
Deputies said the continued efforts of drug dealers ensure their own searches to find the drugs will not stop.
"It does us good to find this stuff, to get it off the streets and keep it out of the hands of our young people. That's what we are out here for," said Major Little.
SBI agents and detectives are still working to determine what charges will be filed as a result of Wednesday's drug seizure.