Teens Target Cow Pastures in Search of 'Shrooms

Summer is the season when warm weather, lots of rain, and an endless supply of cow patties are make Florida's pastures tempting to people in search of a high.

That has the Martin County Sheriff's Department on high alert.

"My cows are my best watchdogs," said Detective Buzz Baker of the Martin County sheriff's office.

Baker considers every cow in Martin county one of his own.

He is an agriculture investigator with the sheriff's office.

He has a key to every pasture, and knows when something shouldn't be here.

"I can look from out in the road. And if I notice my cattle all facing one direction, focusing on something, generally there's something or somebody in that pasture," Baker explained.

The cows have recently been turning their heads for people picking mushrooms.

Some of the fungi contain psilocybin, a psychedelic drug with effects similar to LSD.

The sheriff's office arrested more than a dozen people in the last month and a half, and all of them were scouring these fields.

"The problems for pickers are numerous. First, they're trespassing in an area that could be dangerous. They'll jump these fences, they'll get caught in the barbed wire, they'll tear their clothes and rip their skin. They'll do anything, cross these canals where these gators live."

Some of the mushrooms are toxic and can cause paralysis, even death.

If you get caught, you could face a third degree felony for possession.

And the sheriff's office has plenty of tools to hunt would-be gatherers.

"We patrol this area aggressively and the sheriff, he gives us the equipment and the time and money and resources to do this with and it's very important to keep this area patrolled."

People arrested this week came from as far away as Brevard County and Boca to find these mushrooms.

They left with notice to appear in court.

Detectives say all types and ages come out here, at any time of the day or night.

The sheriff's office has night vision to catch people prowling in the pastures after dark.