Four south of Atlanta face marijuana trafficking charges

From the outside, the houses look like normal residences. The inside of a “grow house” is a different matter, however. The structures have been gutted and then outfitted with sophisticated electrical systems, lighting and hydroponic gear to produce a lucrative cash crop of marijuana.

Law enforcement officials about 100 miles south of Atlanta say they have arrested four people allegedly responsible for maintaining grow houses in central Georgia. The four are being held now without bail on drug trafficking charges and related accusations.

Police say they seized nearly 400 marijuana plants worth $3.86 million from the houses.

Officials said part of their estimation of a plant’s worth includes the grower’s ability to harvest about two pounds of marijuana from each plant every two months or so.

Authorities also seized 86 pounds of packaged pot worth about $432,000 in the raids conducted after a four-month investigation.

A Houston County sheriff’s captain said he could not recall a bigger drug seizure in the area in the past 40 years.

Two of the houses were in unincorporated Houston County, and one each in unincorporated Peach County and unincorporated Crawford County.

In addition to the marijuana seized, authorities also confiscated a variety of other items, including a half-dozen motor vehicles and a trailer, televisions and other electronics, air conditioners and grow lights.

Three men, ages 24, 37 and 45 were arrested. One woman, age 22, was also arrested.

The 24-year-old and 37-year-old both face charges of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, conspiracy to traffic in marijuana and manufacturing of marijuana; the 45-year-old is charged with conspiring to manufacture marijuana; and the 22-year-old is charged with trafficking marijuana.

All four should decline to discuss with prosecutors charges and evidence and opt instead to discuss their situations with criminal defense attorneys.

Source: The Telegraph, “More than $4 million in pot seized in Middle Georgia bust,” Becky Purser, Feb. 20, 2014