Vinton County pot bust

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The shear size is what made a Vinton County marijuana growing operation visible from the sky.

That's according to Scott Duff.

He's the supervisor of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation's Outdoor Marijuana Eradication Program.

The aerial effort to identify and seize illegal marijuana growing operations throughout Ohio occurs each summer.

More than 17,000 marijuana plants with an estimated street value of millions of dollars were spotted during a helicopter flyover in Brown Township near New Plymouth on Tuesday.

Duff says the plants were found on an old strip mine on state owned property.

"Those are usually pretty good areas to cultivate marijuana. There's not a tremendous amount of traffic. Obviously, they're very rural. So, these guys are trying to plant in areas that would not be easily detected." said Duff.

Vinton County Sheriff Dave Hickey says the 400-pound haul is the largest in the county since the 1980s, when a crop of about 2,000 plants was discovered.

Duff says the site is believed to be part of an organized Mexican drug operation.

"These are all being run by an organized group and we can link that to various cartels that come, not only to Ohio, but to other states and set up large marijuana growing operations." said Duff.

Duff says the Vinton County growing operation was the second largest Mexican organized operation found in Ohio.

And he says this is the largest marijuana bust for his program so far this year.

So far, no arrests have been made.