Clermont County, Ohio- Sheriff A.J. Rodenberg reported that on Thursday August 19th and Friday August 27, 2010, the Clermont County Narcotics Unit conducted an operation to discover and eradicate marijuana plants before harvest. “Law enforcement used a variety of resources including all-terrain vehicles and helicopters to search open areas for plants, which are approximately two-thirds through their growing season. Plants range from four to eight feet in height, and are valued conservatively at $1,000 per healthy plant. Deputies follow up the discovery of the plants with the objective of identifying those who cultivated the plants. The penalties for cultivating marijuana vary depending upon the number of plants involved. Once the plants are seized, they are destroyed, preventing distribution of the finished product,” Rodenberg said.
329 Plants were found in the following townships within Clermont County:
Batavia Township 11 Plants
Williamsburg Township 145 Plants
Tate Township 75 Plants
Franklin Township 6 Plants
Washington Township 18 Plants
Union Township 36 Plants
Brown County 20 Plants
Pierce Township 10 Plants
Jackson Township 4 Plants
Stonelick Township 1 Plant
Wayne Township 3 Plants
“The street value of the 329 plants is valued at approximately $329,000.00. To date two individuals involved in the cultivation have been identified: Thomas Schuster, 3550 Clover Rd., Bethel, DOB 11-06-51, and Ricky Hutchinson, 2058 Ginn Rd., New Richmond DOB 10-19-84. Both were cited for Cultivating Marijuana and other cases are pending further investigation,” said Chief Deputy Rick W. Combs.
Combs said, “Narcotics unit agents continue to search Clermont County for growing operations and ask the public to call the Clermont County Narcotics Unit at 625-2806 or the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office at 732-7545 to report any suspected marijuana cultivation or distribution.” Chief Combs reported the Ohio Department of Public Safety provides funds for the marijuana eradication operation.
Agents of Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification (B.C.I. & I.) assisted in this operation along with the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office. The Clermont County Narcotics Unit is under the direction and management of the Clermont County Sheriff.