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January 29, 2009

Marijuana plantation found using Google Earth

TECHNOLOGY - Swiss police today said they stumbled across a large marijuana plantation while using Google Earth, the search engine company's satellite mapping software. The plantation was hidden inside a field of corn.

Police said the find was part of a bigger investigation that led to the arrest of 16 people and seizure of more than one tonne of marijuana as well as cash and valuables worth $780,000 US.

Officers were just using Google Earth to locate the address of two farmers suspected of involvement in the drug operation when they noticed the illegal crop.

Google Earth opens a new possibility for police around the world to crack down on marijuana/corn farms, also popular in Canada and the United States.

The sheriff's department in Humboldt, California, is one of a growing number of public agencies turning to Google Earth as a law enforcement tool. The county, one of the most popular regions in the United States for marijuana cultivation, uses the mapping service to track illegal growing.

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