Hikers find pot patch in Athens

Brattleboro Reformer (Vermont)
BYLINE: By BOB AUDETTE, Reformer Staff

Windham County, VT

BRATTLEBORO -- If you've been growing a patch of marijuana in the backwoods of Athens, the Windham County Sheriff's Department has your crop in the evidence room.

But if you plan on claiming it, you better do it before next week. That's when the department plans to destroy the confiscated weed. In case you don't know who to call to reclaim your pot, Sgt. George Badgely left his business card at the spot where he pulled the plants out of the ground.

The sheriff's department was notified by hikers on July 15 that they had discovered the marijuana patch while out walking in the woods.

Whoever was growing the marijuana put a lot of effort into their labor, Badgely said.

"They couldn't four-wheel to the actual plot," he said.

Only a few plants were found, some of them more than six feet tall, he said, but it appeared the cultivators had spent some time finding the spot and getting it ready for their crop.

"They cut trees on a side hill," located near a tumbling brook, said Badgely.

He also said it looked like they had cleared another nearby plot and were getting ready to put more plants into the ground.

The area where the plants were found is very steep, he said, and the pot farmers had found one of the only flat spots in the area for their crop. They had even girdled a few trees in the area, as if they were getting ready to grow more plants in coming years.

For this small an amount of marijuana, said Badgely, the growers would have probably only been cited for a misdemeanor. But because it was such a small plot, he doesn't expect the sheriff's department to spend too much time investigating.

Badgely, who has been a deputy since September 2008, retired from the Vermont State Police seven years ago. He was stationed at the Rockingham barracks for 13 years. Following retirement, he worked for the Chester and Dover Police Department before he was hired to work with the sheriff's department.

Bob Audette can be reached at , or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.

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