244 pot plants found growing near Riverside Cemetery

Investigators with the Bibb County Sheriff's Narcotics Unit seized nearly $500,000 worth of marijuana plants this afternoon that were being cultivated in an overgrown field near Riverside Cemetery.

Officials said 244 plants between 1 foot and 10 feet tall were being grown. Each plant has an average value of $2,000, based on Drug Enforcement Agency guidelines.

Sheriff Jerry Modena said the plants were discovered through a cooperative effort among the Jones County Sheriff's Office, the Governor's Marijuana Task Force and the state's Department of Natural Resources.

"The task force was using a helicopter and discovered it," said Modena, who added such flyovers are standard throughout the state when a law enforcement agency requests them. "They are a different color when looking from the air — the difference (from other vegetation) is clear."

Officials said each felony count could mean a sentence of one to five years.