Drug agents seize marijuana grow operation

By Chase Jordan - [email protected]

By Chase Jordan

[email protected]

Thanks to an anonymous tipper, the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office was able to destroy a marijuana operation worth almost a half million dollars.

Deputies from the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office’s Special Investigations Division discovered 197 marijuana plants in a wooded area behind Clinton’s Rowan Creek Lane. The plants were four feet high and had a street value of $492,500.

“We chopped them down and destroyed them,” said Sheriff Jimmy Thornton. “It’s probably one of the larger ones that we had within the last two years.”

The finding on Wednesday was the result of an anonymous tip. Thornton said residents need to be vigilant of what’s going on around them.

“We stay so preoccupied that we really don’t pay much attention to anything,” Thornton said.

While discussing awareness, he mentioned the recent chop shop bust in Garland as another example.

“Everyone was so surprised whenever we found what was taking place behind the woods, off the highway,” Thornton said. “There’s all kinds of stuff that can take place in the woods off the beaten path.”

When it comes to suspicious activity, Thornton said it doesn’t hurt to make a call for deputies to check out a situation.

“I encourage everybody to call,” he said. “Clearly, I could say that a large part of our success is because of the people in the communities keeping us abreast of what’s going on. It’s important to be active in everything.”

Thornton and Capt. Eric Pope said the seizure is less drugs going into the hands of youths.

“Any and everything we get off the street is one less piece, whether it be grams or pounds, that will find it’s way to the young people,” Thornton said.

“You never know where this stuff was going or who it was intended for,” Pope said referring to youths or older community members.

No arrests have been made and the grow operation is still under investigation.

“We haven’t been able to make an arrest, but we’re making efforts to attempt to,” Thornton said.

Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.

Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.