Surveillance Is So Dope: Google Earth Helps Bust Pot Farm

Maybe don't grow a bunch of weed outdoors.

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Google Earth

This satellite image shows the location of an field where marijuana was allegedly grown.

If you’re going to run a massive marijuana growing operation, you might want to watch out for those pesky Google Earth cameras.

An Oregon man was busted for growing more marijuana than he was legally allowed, but his arrest came not through a raid or a tip, but through satellite imagery provided by Google Earth, the Grants Pass Daily Courier reported.

Police say they got a tip that Curtis W. Croft, 50, was boasting about the amount of the plant he was growing on his property in Grants Pass, Ore. But instead of knocking on his door, authorities looked up the satellite image on the web. The pictures they saw showed dozens of neatly laid plants, so Rogue Area Drug Enforcement, a local interagency anti-drug team, sent an aircraft for a closer look and at the same time took a look at state marijuana registration records.

Marijuana has been decriminalized in the state and Croft was authorized to grow marijuana for five people or about 30 plants, but when police raided his property in September, they seized 94 plants.  Croft was arrested on drug charges last week and later released.

This isn’t the first time Google Earth served to help in a weed bust. In 2006, a Racine, Wis., farmer was taken into custody after sheriffs used Google Earth to uncover marijuana growing in a cornfield. In 2009, Swiss authorities netted 1.1 tons of ganja through the mapping application.