53 pot plants seized

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following story is based on a ride-along reporter Cary Ashby and photographer Lou Reda did Thursday with a Huron County marijuana eradication team. The sweet, distinct smell of the three marijuana plants permeated the air, even without being able to see them.
Cary Ashby
Jul 25, 2010


EDITOR'S NOTE: The following story is based on a ride-along reporter Cary Ashby and photographer Lou Reda did Thursday with a Huron County marijuana eradication team.

The sweet, distinct smell of the three marijuana plants permeated the air, even without being able to see them.

"That's a good size one," Huron County Sheriff's Cpl. Jeff Kerber said about the nearly six-foot tall plant in the Yingling Road corn field.

Retired Sheriff's Capt. Jim VanHentenryck and Wakeman Police Sgt. Josh Milchen earlier had trudged along the tree line with Kerber. The trio, part of an area marijuana eradication team, then plunged into the corn field proper to find the marijuana plants spotted from the air by a Marion County sheriff's pilot.

"You can tell they had been walking along the tree line," Milchen said about the suspects who planted the marijuana.

Authorities seized 53 total plants from five corn fields Thursday: Yingling Road, two Edmonds Road sites less than a quarter mile apart, Prairie Road south of Bauer Road and Opperman Road.

Kerber, in charge of Thursday's operation, had expected to find "at least a couple hundred" plants at 15 possible sites. He said authorities often find the marijuana by chance and by checking known growing areas.

"It depends if they plant beans or corn," Kerber added.

Authorities get information about where marijuana plants are possibly growing from anonymous callers, snitches, farmers or residents who have seen suspicious activity.

"Every once in a while you'll find one in someone's garden," Kerber said. "Sometimes I go by smell if I can't find them."

The Ohio Bureau of Identification and Investigation (BCI&I) organizes the searches about once a year in Huron County, usually about August. Each search lasts between five and eight hours, depending on where the helicopter is based.

"We'll be lucky to get two (searches), but usually it's a one-time thing," said Kerber, who has been doing this for the last decade.

VanHentenryck, who started doing marijuana eradication about 1987, said one search in October didn't net any marijuana because it all been harvested.

In 2005, authorities seized about 450 plants in Crawford County near Section Line Road and Baseline Road.

"That was the biggest single patch we've had. We've had a couple over a hundred," VanHentenryck said.

He said the most challenging part is coordinating information between the pilot and the ground team.

Thursday exemplified that challenge as the ground team waited north of Monroeville at a Lameraux Road corn field. Quite a bit of time passed with no word from the pilot and his spotter.

"I need him to come back here is what I need him to do. He should have found some by now," Kerber said.

"He ought to be about (flying at) 200 feet," added VanHentenryck, who has been a spotter.

He said if a pilot is too high or flying too fast, it will be difficult to find any marijuana. VanHentenryck also pointed out if a spotter keeps the officers in vehicles informed on a timely basis, it gives them time to meet the helicopter at the next field.

The team netted its first find three plants about 11:30 a.m. on Yingling Road. About 20 minutes later, authorities found 21 more marijuana plants in two fields on the same stretch of Edmonds Road. Earlier at a pheasant farm on the same road, officers discovered "empty holes" where someone had pulled the plants.

Kerber said the searches rarely net an arrest because it's difficult to narrow down who might have planted the marijuana in the middle of a corn field, where there are few homes.

Involved in Thursday's search were: Kerber, VanHentenryck, Milchen, Wakeman Police Capt. Tim Hunker, special Sheriff's Deputy Lon Burton, Huron County Probation Officer Andrea Cooke and two BCI&I agents.


Michelle B, (An...

all day to find 53 plants? a total waste of taxpayers' money. no excuses like not being able to coordinate between the pilot and those on the ground. if they can't do that, thety have absolutely no business being on the ground in the first place.

Let's be BLUNT....

I agree with the 1st comment...you think they would have found 55 or 60 being they had ALL DAY.

JEF (Anonymous)

Ohio should push hemp as an alternative biomass energy source. It is essentially a weed. Unlike corn, it requires little-to-no fertilizer and needs next-to-no water. Canada, with regulation allows hemp cultivation.

why??? (Anonymous)

well i guess josh wasnt sleeping for once!!! LOL!! but WHy was he outside wakeman????? why is wakeman paying for josh to go play with huron s.o.
is the the s.o so messed up they need josh ??? did wakeman pay thur. for josh to work??? ZZZZZ OPPS PULLING A JOSH! ANYWAY, josh,i think you should stay in your own vilage and let the real duty handle this!! good night josh!
maybe would should all send josh a pillow and blanket to the dept. so he get so better sleep!!

honest (Anonymous)

What a waste of time and dollars. Our leaders need to realize reefer is here to stay. This is no different than alcohol from years ago. I don't smoke, but know some who do - this doesn't make them criminals. I recall what my children told me during their school years, " dad we could get weed if we wanted it, but we can't buy beer. Wake up & regulate it.

Get -R- Done (A...

Hey Why???, Learn how to spell Village. Before you worry what other people are doing!! You sound like you ride the short bus. God I hope that they don't give you a badge and a gun.

ok (Anonymous)

josh did you have a good night sleep????

swiss family .....

this seems to ba a total waste of the taxpayers money !! i know that the police dept are forced to locate the pot plants , because it is illegal .. but come on .. it is so much safer than alcohol , and you can buy beer at any gas station , even though we say that we are soooo against drinking and driving ?? it doesn't make any sense to keep pot illegal , anymore!! i believe that the only reason that it remains illegal , is because the govt. hasn't totally figured out a way to tax it .. but with the brunt of the "sin " taxes being paid for by cigarette smokers , the govt. had better come up with a plan "b" because every day more and more people are stopping their cigarette habits , so if they would tax pot, they would be able to maintain their tax base !!

re: swiss famil...


re: pot head sw...

Sounds like the Swiss Family is smoking their own weed !!!!!!!!!

I agree! (Anonymous)

swiss family is really stoner family

gas guzzler (An...

i would like to say thank you to everyone that did their part in the "gas out " and bought their gas outside of Norwalk , until the gas station owners lowered their prices to a competative range with the surrounding area!! i am happy to say that i had to travel to , both Sandusky , and to Lorain this past week , and there was only an 8 cent difference in the price of gas from Norwalk to the surrounding area's .. not the usual 20 to 30 cent difference... so i would like to say thank you to everyone involved !!! we did make a difference !!!

Gas on! (Anonymous)

Went through Bellevue, Clyde and Fremont the other night, no lower than 2.97 and as high as 3.07. I'll keep buying in Norwalk at Get Go. Thanks anyway!

hey swiss mess....

let me guess... you're a democrat, aren't ya?

gas guzzler (An...

... to "Gas on " you are correct .. the price of gas in Norwalk is now finally in a competative range , compared to the other area's close to us , and you have just proved that to be true as well !!! but it is because the Norwalk stations have lowered their prices considerable , within the last 6 weeks to be more competative !!! 6 weeks ago the price of gas in Norwalk was about 20 to 30 cents higher , per gallon , than anyone else around us ... so i believe , that because of our protest, they have understood that we won't sit back and be "price gouged" by them anymore !!! of course, over the past few weeks , the price of gas has increased , and i do realize that the Norwalk stations can't control that , but at least we are not being charged an unjustified , inflated amount , compared to every other town !!! again , thank you to everyone who helped us to win our battle , and make our voices heard !!

to gas guzzler-...

it is me, Gas on! and I don't like you-you type just like swiss family...You, my friend, are the uncreative one, not me. You need to go to Snopes.com and look up the 'stop buying gas...' page. it will give you some insight on how all this does not work. Now get on over to New London and choke on some pizza.

Seriously (Anon...

You are the only one "protesting", if you think you are making a difference you are delusional.

Furthermore... If you are spending this much time and effort, you seriously need to re-evaluate your priorities in life... The price of gas is not that important.

Finally, you are annoying. Posting your garbage on completely unrelated forums is annoying. No one is listening to you. Nobody cares. Give it up. Go away.

No Doubt.. (Ano...

20 cents a gallon figures to be what... maybe 2-3 bucks when you fill up. 5 bucks a week is worth it to not drive around like a crazed idiot looking to save some pennies... get a life.

gas guzzler (An...

i hate to disagree with you , but you are wrong !!! i was not the only one protesting the price of gas in Norwalk , Iknow of alot of people that were buying their gas elsewhere !! why do you think the price suddenly dropped to a more competative range all of a sudden ? do you think that the same gas owners , that have been gouging us for years , suddenly saw the light , and felt that what they were doing was wrong ?? get real !! also , if you don't think that saving $5.00 a week is a good and profitable thing , well that's $20.00 a month .. i don't know about you but i was taught that if you count your penny's , your dollars will add up ! and i refuse to throw away that much money , but if you can do that without hesitation , then please throw it my way


OOPS! I meant GAS GUZZLER...Since you're too lazy to look this up, I went ahead and did the honors for you. READ IT! Copy and paste it into your browser and READ IT! You are the wrong one here. Somebody says 'left' and you still would say 'right'. It's not that hard! READ IT!


Still Nobody ca...

If it makes you feel better, drive to Texas to get gas the point is you are not making a lick of difference and the bigger point is you are annoying and obnoxious and they is no fact you can dig up to misconstrue that point.

And since you seem to be sooo into these BS internet chain letters, read the link below then call 10 of the friends you duped into going along with moronic scheme and tell them your are an idiot and you are sorry for making them waste precious minutes of their life driving to Timbuktu as part of your super-evil-genius plan to take down the oil companies of Norwalk, Ohio AND if you do Bill Gates will personally mail you a check for 35 cents on the gallon, for each gallon you fill up on in the Norwalk gas stations, (because as we know Microsoft is behind everything including the super evil genius gas gouging plan hellbent on using $2 a week from each driving Norwalk resident to fund the erection of a gigantic laser beam capable of destroying the entire planet in seconds, that will be used to hold the entire world ransom).... If you fail to call 10 of your friends and tell them your are a moron and you are sorry, you will have bad luck between the hours of 5am and 1:17 pm on the third Tuesday of every month for the next 12 years...... or you might finally realize what a complete jackass you are and move on with your life a little more wiser for the wear.

gas guzzler (An...

to "still nobody cares" i guess what you are trying to say in your own moronic way , is thank you ... and i will say you are welcome , yes , we did accomplish what we set out to do with our summer "gas out" we made the norwalk gas station owners , lower their prices , considerably , to get them down to a more competative range , with the surrounding aarea ... you can't deny that .. it is a fact .. if you would check your facts .. at the beginning of summer when we first posted our plan , gas in Norwalk was between 20 and 30 cents higher per gallon than any surrounding towns !! now they are about the same price !! that didn't just happen on it's own .. it took a bunch of good people to go and do alittle extra driving to drive the price down .. it is a blessing to you though , that through our efforts , the price that you pay for gas in Norwalk was lowered as well , not because of anything that you did , but by all of the work that others did for you .. so on behalf of all of the people who lowered the price of gas that you pay .. we collectively say ... "YOU"RE WELCOME"

... (Anonymous)

Since you seem slow let me say it again: YOU DIDN'T DO ANYTHING.

Since you are too dumb to read what has been posted by someone else before, I will cut out the important part: Gasoline is a fungible, global commodity, its price subject to the ordinary forces of supply and demand. No amount of consumer gimmickry and showmanship will lower its price in the long run; only a significant, ongoing reduction in demand will accomplish that goal.

All of which is moot to the bigger point... I could care less what the price of gas is in Norwalk. I haven't bought gas in Norwalk in 5 years. What i do have to deal with is your pointless, ignorant, and useless campaig.n amidst the semi-intelligent comments on another completely unrelated topic.
You are annoying, You are doing nothing, and you should stop before you make yourself look any more ignorant than you already have

re: Still Nobod...

ROTFLMAO!!!! I love you!!! But... you mean I won't get any money when Bill Gates shares his fortune?? Swiss, when you finally travel to the land of Oz to get your brain...be sure you fill up in Norwalk, Ohio before you go. I hear that this one douchebag there posted on a blog that if you don't buy gas in Norwalk, Ohio, it will come down. Has nothing to do with supply and demand, nothing to do with the price of oil per barrel, and certainly nothing to do with our hurricane ravished oil refineries. It's all about swiss family and her vigilante way to get back at those guys gouging us. P.S. you may want to look into getting a heart and some courage while you're in Kansas, of course, go for the brain 1st. You need IT most.


HONEST TO GOD...I GOT THE 'BILL GATES IS SHARING HIS FORTUNE' TODAY IN AN E-MAIL! I was rolling when I opened it! Thought of you right away! LOL!

hello all!!! (A...

does anyone care about the facts at hand???
wakeman sucks,the sgt josh is sleeping and then goes in the day to find pot plants not even in wakeman!!!
the wasnt about gas prices or retards who smoke weed!!!

Carl Spackler (...

"Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now, about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mirac...It's in the hole! It's in the hole! It's in the hole!"

kurt (Anonymous)

rollin papers, c'on. need em. Thanks. Hey didya ever use a dollar bill to roll a joint? Gimme some weed; I'll show ya.