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Guard Flyovers Spot Marijuana

Helicopter crews spotted a total of 1,741 marijuana plants in four locations during flyovers by the Washington National Guard, the Walla Walla County sheriff’s office said.

The mature plants would have had a street value of more than $2.6 million, the sheriff’s office said.

The plots were spotted during annual National Guard flyovers and were put under surveillance by National Guard troops, but no arrests were made. The plants were seized Sunday and will be burned this week, sheriff’s Capt. Mike Humphries said.

The first plot of 415 plants was spotted July 24 north of Boise Cascade’s paper mill at Wallula. The property near the Columbia River is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The following day, a National Guard pilot and two sheriff’s deputies found a total of 1,200 plants in two plots about a mile south of the first location. That property is administered through a Baker Boyer Bank trust.

A fourth plot was found July 26 near the Touchet River about 20 miles northwest of Walla Walla. The land is leased for farming, but officials said neither the lessor nor the lessee are believed to have been involved in growing pot.