Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/01/30/google_earth_plantation/

Swiss cops sniff out dope plantation on Google Earth

'An interesting chance discovery'

By Lester Haines

Posted in Bootnotes, 30th January 2009 14:04 GMT

Swiss police reported yesterday they "stumbled across" a sizeable dope plantation which had helpfully been captured on Google Earth, AP reports.

The happy find came last year during an investigation into an alleged drug ring. Officers were using Google Earth to find the addresses of a couple of farmers suspected of involvement in the operation, and "quickly spotted" the 7,500 m2 illicit horticultural site in the northeastern canton of Thurgau.

Norbert Klossner, the head of Zurich police's narcotics unit, said: "It was an interesting chance discovery."

The cops' drug-busting dragnet resulted in the arrest of 16 people and the seizure of 11.1 tonnes of marijuana plus 900,000 Swiss francs ($780,000) in cash and valuables. According to officials, the gang is "alleged to have sold up to seven tonnes of hashish and marijuana between 2004 and 2008, with an annual turnover of 3-10 million francs a year". ®