Thornton says investigators found out about the pot field through aerial surveillance coordinated by the Sampson County Sheriff's Office Special Investigations Division and the NC State Bureau of Investigation.
There was so much pot that officers and deputies from the Sampson County Sheriff's Office, the Duplin County Sheriff's Office, and the Clinton Police Department, the State Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration cut down the plants.
Thornton said whoever was growing the pot left before officers arrived. Investigators found tents, food, and irrigation equipment at a central campsite.
"The persons growing the marijuana were squatters who were using someone else's land for their illegal purposes," Sheriff Thornton stated. "The southern part of Sampson County still has vast wooded areas that are ideal for someone to set up their operation without the risk of being detected easily. I'm just thankful that we were able to locate the marijuana plants before they ended up in the hands of someone's child."