Among the properties entered by police following air surveillance was one on Skiff’s Lane in West Tisbury owned by Oak Bluffs School principal Laury Binney.
Sergeant Stone, who leads the drug task force, declined to comment on specific locations where plants were seized, or the names of those who will be summonsed to court, citing the ongoing investigation. In all, police raided 13 different locations in West Tisbury, Tisbury, and Chilmark. Last year authorities seized nearly 300 plants during their annual air surveillance operation. Sgt. Stone said last week’s search was hampered by weather, resulting in fewer plants seized.
The loud whirring of an unexpected helicopter rotor irritated and alarmed West Tisbury residents whose homes border the state forest.
“It is frightening,” exclaimed Karen Elgart, a West Tisbury resident who lives on Skiffs Lane. “That helicopter is in my neighborhood every year, and they don’t go over the house just once, they go over multiple times.”
Ms. Elgart, who likened the uproar created by the helicopter prop to living in a war zone, said she was relaxing in her back yard when the helicopter began circling. “This racket goes on year after year, but since it’s not in other neighborhoods, people don’t think about it,” she said. “It’s just harassment as far as I’m concerned. There’s nothing but trees and flowers out here.”
Cynthia Bloomquist, who also lives on Skiffs Lane, said she was furious about the helicopter disturbance and couldn’t understand why the marijuana search occurs over her neighborhood each year. “You’d think that after this state changed the law on pot, the areas they searched for pot would change, too,” she said. “It’s so damned irritating when this goes on, wasting tax-payer dollars. It’s a real invasion of property to be out there and have people just overhead, and hear these helicopter blades.”
State Police Sergeant Jeff Stone, who also leads the Drug Task Force on the Vineyard, explained that similar helicopter searches occur all over Massachusetts throughout the year. He said a representative from the Mass. National Guard called the state police to inform them of their search before it began.