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Pot Plants Seized in 'Green Harvest' June 10, 2005 - kgmb9.com
Federal, state and local law enforcement in Hawaii uprooted thousands of marijuana plants potentially worth millions of dollars.
They seized 29,043 plants and confiscated 36 pounds of processed pot over the 10-day long Operation Green Harvest completed Thursday.
"Our goal is simple; it is to reduce substance abuse in this state and one way to reduce consumption is to reduce the supply of drugs," U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo said.
A county by county breakdown showed 253 plants confiscated on Kauai, 1,503 on Oahu, 10,418 on the Big Island, and 16,869 in Maui County.
More than 10,000 of the plants from Maui County came from a concentrated area near the airport on Molokai.
Miscellaneous drug paraphernalia was also seized and six people were arrested.
Kubo said this is the first Green Harvest operation in four years, but that doesn't mean growers should be complacent.
"I don't think it's wise for them to think this is going to be a four-year event, but I think it is very prudent of them to just cease their operations," Kubo said.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, federal authorities have always sought to prosecute people involved in commercial production and distribution of marijuana but not individual users. Officials said that will still be the approach despite a recent Supreme Court ruling that federal drug law supersedes state medical marijuana laws.
"We're only looking at the major traffickers, the cultivators," said Tony Williams, assistant special agent in charge with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. "We are not interested in investigating the sick or dying."
Kubo said doctors who prescribe marijuana are probably in the clear.
"I don't think physicians have anything to fear about prosecution solely for a certification," Kubo said.
Authorities also found eight pounds of cocaine and $14,000 cash during an Operation Green Harvest raid on the Big Island.