Google Earth Aids In Drug Bust

Dennis Faas's picture

Attention, Marijuana Harvesters: If you are using your fields to grow pot, the cops may use utilize Internet technology to nab you.

Dean Brown, a Wisconsin man found that out the hard way when the Racine County Sheriff's Department used the mapping software Google Earth to locate his marijuana fields in nearby Mount Pleasant.

Ironically, Brown made it easy for the police -- by wearing the location as a necklace. He had a GPS unit around his neck, which police used to discover the coordinates of the drug field.

From there, Racine's finest plugged the coordinates into Google Earth and were able to easily locate Brown's growing stash.

Brown has been charged on six counts:

  • Possession of marijuana with intent to deliver
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Four counts of manufacturing marijuana

Because Brown has been busted for drugs before, he could end up with four extra years in jail, bringing the total up to 59 years (and $90,500 in fines) if he is given the maximum penalty. (Source:

While some might consider the sheriffs' use of Google Earth to be an ingenious way of making the most out of the latest technologies, the method has its critics as well. The bloggers on Wired, for one, consider it "gratuitous."

"While [Google Earth] a very good visualization tool, [it's] hardly necessary to use once you have latitude and longitude," Wired insists. "Any old map or GPS unit (including the one confiscated from Brown) [will] get you where you think you might want to go." (Source:

Of course, you can churn your own butter as well -- but why bother when a stick costs $2 at the grocery store. The whole point of technology is to make tasks quicker and easier. And in the world of crime-fighting, that's always a major plus.

Interested in seeing what Google Earth is all about? You can download it for free here:

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