KSP To Resume Flyovers In Search Of Marijuana

Jul 1, 2013

OWENSBORO, Ky.-- Kentucky State Police helicopters will resume flyovers this summer as part of the agency's annual marijuana eradication campaign.


Rising fuel costs, though, means the helicopters won't log as many hours in the air as in the past.

Instead of conducting blanket flights, the agency will target areas where pot has been grown frequently in the past and will use tips from the public to schedule areas for flyovers.

State Police spokesman Trooper Stu Recke told the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer a helicopter works out of one post for about a week during the summer doing marijuana eradication work.

The agency also works with the National Guard to do marijuana eradication. But the joint effort usually focuses on eastern Kentucky.

Trooper Corey King, public information officer for KSP's Henderson post, said so much marijuana is grown in eastern Kentucky that some plots are grown as decoys, while the actual cash crop is hidden.

"They intentionally grow large areas for our suppression team to find," King said. "It takes the focus off other areas."

The state police have already taken steps to reduce fuel usage. Troopers still patrol, but often remain in designated areas to burn less fuel, King said. Naturally, a helicopter uses significantly more fuel than a patrol car.

"Flying is one of those things we have to trim," King said. "Some helicopters will cost $200 an hour (in fuel) to fly."

Troopers will check "hot spots," or known areas of marijuana production, King said.

"They know what to look for, what the tell-tale signs are," King said.