JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Jackson County has had a bumper crop of marijuana this summer. The commander of the Narcotics Task Force, Curtis Spears, said in August his team seized more than $500,000 worth of homegrown pot plants.
"Marijuana has always been considered a gateway drug," Spiers said.
Commander Curtis Spiers said more and more pot growers are finding a home for their illegal businesses in Jackson County.
"It is a money making industry. It is an illegal money making industry that we work hard to combat," Spiers said.
Last month, the Narcotics Task Force busted five marijuana growing operations and seized 500 ounces of marijuana. WLOX News was in the Gulf Park Estates Community when the task force uncovered a large pot production at a home. Four men were charged with cultivating the drug. Spiers said drug agents found more than 40 tall plants inside the home.
Spiers credited media coverage of that story for helping bring in even more information on potential drug dealers.
"I received an anonymous call from someone who identified a house on Sutter Road in Gautier where a gentleman was growing several large plants behind his house," Spiers said. "I also received another anonymous call about a marijuana plant growing out of a shrub at an apartment complex in Pascagoula."
Spiers said growers think the risk of getting caught is low compared to the fast and easy money they could make.
"A pound of marijuana smuggled across borders in the United States, typically in South Mississippi, is about $800 a pound. This marijuana that is grown indoors locally is $3,500 to $4,000 a pound.
Commander Spiers said industrious and illegal drug growers should beware. His team will be watching for homes, yards and gardens growing pot plants.
"As long as marijuana is illegal to grow and possess in the State of Mississippi and Jackson County, we are going to put people in jail."
Commander Spiers said 107 suspects were also arrested this year for possessing or selling marijuana in Jackson County.