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5-day marijuana sweep nets 14,425 plants 06-28-02

PHONE: 961-2332
JUNE 28, 2002


Hilo Vice Section officers ripped up a total of 14,425 marijuana plants ranging in height from seedlings to six feet during a five-day eradication effort that ended Friday (June 28, 2002).

The eradication effort concentrated in the Puna, Hilo and North Hilo areas of the Big Island.

As part of the operation, officers arrested a 46-year-old Mountain View woman after finding 911 plants growing on her property and inside her house.

The suspect, identified as Lenora Aitcheson, was arrested about 10 a.m. Friday and is being held in the Hilo police cellblock pending charges.

Lieutenant Henry Tavares, head of the Hilo Vice Section, said police hope to obtain federal prosecution of the suspect because of the large number of plants growing on her property and in her indoor growing operation.

Tavares also noted that the number of plants found during the current eradication operation represents a “significant increase in the number of plants and plots than we’ve found in previous months.”

During May 2002, for example, a three-day marijuana eradication effort resulted in the confiscation of only 2,973 plants.

Tavares attributed the increase in the number of plants to the fact that “we are well into the marijuana growing season.”

“The maturing plants are taller, which makes them easier to spot from our helicopters flying at 1,000 feet,” he said

“The high number of plants also indicates that marijuana is still a major threat to the Big Island.”

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