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Police Confiscate $10 Million Worth of Pot Plants

April 12, 2005 – Police have confiscated an estimated $10 million worth of marijuana in raids across St. Croix that started in the early part of April.
Police Commissioner Elton Lewis said Tuesday the joint operation between the V.I. Police Department and five other enforcement agencies resulted in the eradication of approximately 35 fields of marijuana and the closure of two indoor growing operations on St. Croix.
The fields were located throughout St. Croix, a release from VIPD said, with a major growth operation on the north-western side of the island. At that site, which had plants growing both inside and outside, law enforcement officers removed more than 800 plants and confiscated more than 30 pounds of dried marijuana being prepared for distribution, according to the release sent by Sgt. Thomas Hannah, Police spokesman.
In all, police nabbed 4,672 plants that Lewis estimated would have had a street value of more than $9 million if allowed to mature. He estimated the 30 pounds of dried marijuana was worth $120,000.
Hannah said Tuesday night no one had been arrested yet. In at least one case individuals reportedly ran from the scene where the raid was being conducted leaving behind an infant, Hannah stated in the release.
But, Hannah said in a telephone interview, people have been identified and "There will be arrests."
Lewis also said the recent raids were only the beginning. "By far the investigation is not over and we are going to continue to search and seek out these types of illegal operations."
Lewis credited the High Intensity Drug Traffic Area (HIDTA) task force, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Blue Lightening, the U.S. Marshall Service, and the Virgin Islands National Guard for their involvement in what was dubbed, "Operation Green Thumb."I am continually grateful for the assistance rendered by these law enforcement entities and this is a testament to the commitment made by law enforcement to safe guard the citizens in this territory against the criminal element," Lewis said, in the release.
He further asked that anyone with information about the illegal growing of marijuana please call the hotline at 773-5836 until 5 p.m. After 5 p.m. messages can be left at the hotline answering machine at 713-1497.

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