Agents with the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement spend most of their time dealing with methamphetamine and cocaine, but they have also confiscated a lot of marijuana this year. Divisions spokesperson Sean McCullough says the agency would like to hear from Iowans who suspect a marijuana growing operation.
McCullough says they do follow up on leads about people possibly cultivating marijuana, and the Iowa National Guard conducts a fly-over program every summer to look for outdoor operations. The D.N.E. did not find any major outdoor marijuana operations this summer, but McCullough says they have in the past.
"They’ll grow it in the middle of corn rows," McCullough says, "or near a grove of trees…different things to keep it hidden from the air or from vehicles driving around." Anyone who drives around rural Iowa is liking to see plenty of wild marijuana plants growing in ditches.
McCullough says law enforcement usually doesn’t bother with the so-called "ditch weed." He says people who use marijuana want plants that are actually cultivated, since the THC level is much higher. Any Iowan who believes they know of an illegal drug operation is encouraged to call the D.N.E.
McCullough says their toll-free hotline number is 1-800-532-0052. He says most marijuana growing operations in Iowa are found inside homes. Last month, officials found 4,100 marijuana plants that were being grown in seven different indoor operations in Sioux City. The plants, once harvested, had an estimated street value of 2.5 million dollars.