Washington Marijuana Seizures - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Washington Marijuana Seizures

WASHINGTON - Hundreds of people have been arrested and millions of dollars worth of marijuana has been destroyed by law enforcement in the past year throughout the state of Washington.

Federal law enforcement said authorities around the state confiscated 130,000 plants in 2006.

Benton County Sheriff's used an aircraft more than 10 times this year to search for local pot grower that usually hide their plants in unsuspecting farmers' fields.

Benton County Detective Doug Stanley said, "Usually late May early June, we'll fly as often as we can.  We have trained spotters they are actually trained in spotting marijuana from the air."

Washington ranks in the top five when it comes to marijuana production.  This year's seizures have led to more than 340 arrests and 190 weapons that were taken off the street.

Stanley said, "The effects we have on the community and all the direct crime correlations, I think it is immeasurable because we are preventing it from hitting the streets."

Kennewick Police Officer Jeffrey Sagen said, "And it's just as bad as driving under the influence of alcohol when you are driving and when you think about it you have a 2,000 pound weapon that you are driving around and you're not able to think clearly and be able to register things."

Federal law enforcement said more drug dealers are moving their indoor growing operations from Canada to Washington in an effort to avoid tighter border security and said many of the outdoor marijuana growers are caught because they use public land.