The Virgin Islands Police Department wrapped up its semiannual drug eradication sweep of St. Croix last week, confiscating a total of 1,036 marijuana plants uprooted from outdoor growing fields all over the island.
The drug eradication is made possible through air assets and funds provided by the Virgin Islands National Guard Counter Drug Task Force.
Earlier this month residents of St. Croix heard the familiar buzz of helicopters as they swept the island looking for illegal marijuana fields. The sweeps began Tuesday, September 4, and ended Friday, September 7. VIPD officers said the sweeps are random, not targeted.
“We sweep the entire island looking for telltale signs of marijuana grows,” said the VIPD officer.
The officer said the outdoor grows are easy to spot.
“Growers tend to take good care of their product, watering them often and giving them lots of sunlight,” said the officer.
Inside the helicopter, VIPD officers use binoculars to spot the cultivation patches.
Marijuana plants were uprooted from east to west including Estates Hogensburg, Bonne Esperance, Fredensberg, Upper Love, La Grange, Stony Ground, Smithfield, Rust Up Twist Whim, Sion Farm, Golden Rock, Cotton Valley, Pleasant Valley and Christiansted town.
In addition to the marijuana plants, VIPD officers found three rifles in a bushy area of Estate Cane Carlton.
In addition to members of the VING Counter Drug Task Force, VIPD officers from the Special Operations Bureau, Special Response Team, K9 and Marine Unit were involved in the operation.
VIPD Acting St. Croix Chief James Parris said the twice-a-year eradication serves as a deterrent to those who grow and sell marijuana.
“The possession of marijuana is illegal, and as long as it is against the law the VIPD will enforce the law,” said Parris.