Drug farmers have learned the hard way that you can smoke but you can't hide from Google's satellites.
Swiss Police spotted a marijuana farm hiding among a crop of corn in the state of Thurgau. They hauled in 1.1 tonnes of marijuana, describing the bust as an "interesting chance discovery."
The crop, covering two acres, would have been worth 900,000 Swiss Francs ($1.18million). Prosecutors in Switzerland say they will charge 16 men over the crop.
Police aren't the only ones to be using Google Earth, though. "Anyone ever use google earth to map out their prospective grow area? Seems like a great tool to me," wrote one user on the marijuana-oriented online forum Rollitup.org. "It's where I found my grow spot," replied one, and "YES.. Its great, I have found lakes and streams I didn't even knew existed, Till I used it. I definitely recommend looking at it before heading out. Saved me a lot of time," said another.
Other users at another drug-oriented online forum, shroomery.org, lamented that the police found the crop before they did. "So......i could have found that f@#$ing field and i could have stole the weed or been like hey....you guys know we can see that right??? u might want to cover that s#$t up with like a towel or something....or i could smoke it all real quick for u before the cops come..." posted "Invisible_woe"
Although the Swiss Police did not disclose the exact coordinates of the drug farm they busted on Google Earth, you can see what a marijuana farm looks like here. That's the location of a legal marijuana farm in the United States used to supply marijuana for medical 'compassionate' reasons.
GPS navigation is increasingly being coupled with Google Earth to help law enforcement find drug farms. For example, tourists in Afghanistan taking photos of poppy fields with GPS-enabled phones and cameras, who then upload their photo to websites like Panoramio.com provide exact coordinates for drug enforcement agencies to target. For example, here's a poppy field in Afghanistan.