High Eye in the Sky

As the weather starts to cool a bit, you know that harvest season can't be far behind. But not all cash crops are legal. Farmers are harvesting all kinds of delicious fruits and vegetables, but another crop that's ready to be harvested isn't one farmers grow; criminals are bringing it in. We're talking about marijuana.

It's the perfect time to bring in a bumper pot crop so police officers are using an eye in the sky to find those plants before they're harvested. One of those officers is Sheriff Steve Fish. He isn't just the sheriff of Stoddard County, he's also a helicopter pilot. And that comes in handy, since Stoddard County is one of the only counties in Missouri with it's own helicopter.

And when you're looking for marijuana fields, a chopper is the perfect mode of transportation. Sheriff Fish says it's an excellent tool in secluded areas where you can't get in a four wheel drive or a four-wheeler. He says it saves time and you can cover large areas. So in just a few hours, Sheriff Fish can cover miles of ditches, stream banks and fence rows.

He says it's pretty easy to spot a marijuana plant from the air because marijuana is not a natural plant in Missouri. According to Fish, "It has a different color hue. You can see it, it jumps out at you." And this is the perfect time of year to look for marijuana. "This time till the first freeze is a good time to harvest. The plants are at their biggest", according to Fish. And on the day we went up in the chopper with the Sheriff, it didn't take long to spot a small marijuana crop. And once the cops spot the plants, other officers on the ground are directed in. They chop them down and burn them so at least those plants won't end up out on the streets.