I don't know why I thought this would be easy. Looking 1,000' down on a vast landscape of trees, bushes, rocks, dead grass, and a host of other complex camouflaged terrain in search of a cluster of green pixels is bloody hard work.
The helicopter bucked and chugged its way up through the beautiful and clear skies of Butte County. My camera assistant, and wife, Melinda and I fought short bouts of air-sickness...it did not help to stare into a viewfinder aimed at the ground as the ship bounced in three dimensional space. The only thing that really saved us was the blasts of 40 degree prop-wash blown through the non-existent doors.
I find myself doubting how it's possible law enforcement can even find the work of these environmental criminals. I continue to work with them on this season's discoveries, and will very soon be filming entries into these dangerous and dirty gardens. Here's a little sampling of what it looks like from the air. This 360 short clip (best viewed through the YouTube App), is only a few moments of our 3-hour flight collecting data and staging the next steps to stop felony water theft and contamination.
I also want to show you what it looks like when a DTO (drug trafficking organization) grow site has been discovered. Here are some samples of actual locations where millions of dollars are made from trespassing on our public lands. See if you can find the marijuana in these photos. (Trust me it's there):
These images become increasingly more difficult. This is the easiest.
Look hard. This is what tips off law enforcement... it's obvious to them.
Good luck with this one. I still have a hard time finding marijuana plants in there.