Meriwether County Sheriff Chuck Smith reported that his agency assisted the Georgia Governor’s Task Force in an aerial search of portions of Meriwether County in a marijuana eradication operation. Law Enforcement personnel were able to seize 80 marijuana plants from these illegal outdoor marijuana grows.
“June 24th, 2020 our Narcotics and Criminal Investigation Division assisted The Georgia Governor’s Task Force with an aerial search of Meriwether County for outdoor marijuana grow operations. The task force is comprised of officers from the Georgia State Patrol, Department of Community Supervision, Motor Carrier Compliance Division, Department of Corrections and other state agencies on their availability. The agencies listed were involved in the operation that took place in Meriwether County. The Aviation Team was able to successfully locate two active marijuana grows just a few miles apart from one another located in the North East portion of Meriwether County. One marijuana grow operation consisted of 50 plants and the second marijuana operation consisted of 30 plants. Once the aerial team pinpointed the location of the marijuana plants our personnel along with the other state employees responded to the locations to eradicate the plants. These incidents of illegal marijuana grow operations are under further investigation.” Sheriff Smith said.
Below is a brief summary of The Governor’s Task Force:
The Governor’s Task Force/Drug Suppression (GTF) is assigned to the Office of the Deputy Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety and supervised by a task force commander from the Georgia State Patrol. Each agency provides resources specific to their enforcement mission such as aircraft, intelligence, logistical and Administrative support, equipment and personnel trained and experienced in operating in a variety of environments found throughout the state.
The task force is funded through the Federal Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program (DCE/SP). These federal funds, derived from asset forfeiture, are administered by the Department of Justice, through the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to the Georgia Department of Public Safety. The Department of Public Safety then allocates the funds within DEA guidelines to combat locally grown cannabis.
The primary role of the task force is to eradicate domestic marijuana cultivation within the state of Georgia, both indoor and outdoor, and to gather intelligence relating to its manufacture and cultivation.
The Governor’s Task Force works throughout the state as a support force for local agencies. Operational goals for the GTF include the utilization of intelligence and aggressive enforcement to locate marijuana cultivation operations and prosecute those responsible for the criminal activity. The GTF provides increased enforcement on public lands. Enforcement efforts encompass 159 counties covering approximately 59,425 square miles. GTF initiates and develops intelligence for grow operations throughout the state. The intelligence is shared with local agencies. Subsequent investigations result in numerous arrests and seizures.
“Our personnel assist the Governor’s Task Force several times a year in the eradication efforts of outdoor and indoor marijuana grow operations. In the State of Georgia the manufacture, sale, distribution and use of marijuana is illegal under the Georgia Statue referred to as the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, (O.C.G.A.). These statues are enacted through the state legislative body and law enforcement agencies are charged with the enforcement of the laws and statues in Georgia Code.” Sheriff Smith stated.