CARTER COUNTY, Okla. -- The War on Drugs is taking to the skies in Oklahoma. Authorities are using helicopters to sweep Carter County for illegal drugs.
A spokesman from the Bureau of Narcotics says this program has been around since the 1980's, and thanks to previous success, state authorities say they are now finding fewer marijuana fields than ever before.
This year the operation is based out of the Ardmore Airpark. Dubbed "Operation Clean Sweep," the goal is to eliminate marijuana fields in the area.
It’s something narcotics officials say they are accomplishing due to the fact that they are now finding fewer plants than in previous years, including one operation a decade ago when authorities discovered and destroyed $85 million worth of marijuana.
Approximately $300,000 of federal money is being used to fund the operation. So far this year, authorities say they've destroyed close to 7,500 plants across the state.
Only a few of those plants have been found in carter and surrounding counties.
"The plants we are finding, it’s usually a very small field that may have 15 to 25 marijuana plants."
Even though "Operation Clean Sweep" is set to end later this week, state officials say they will continue their swoop from the skies until the first freeze.
"People see helicopters and know exactly what it is they know were back they know they need to cut their dope and run. That’s a victory in itself because we forced them to cut early."
Each plant in this area is estimated to be worth around $1,500 when fully grown. State officials say local law enforcement also play a key role in finding and destroying illegal plants.
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