MARIETTA, GA (CBS46) –
These days, police in Georgia say you’re just as likely to find marijuana plants in a suburban mansion as you would in a secluded rural field.
And that means no neighborhood is too fancy or affluent to be affected.
In the Stone Oak Pointe subdivision in Marietta, homes are valued at over $300,000. But inside one house on Oak Trail Drive there was a multi-million dollar crop of illegal marijuana growing inside.
“It is very shocking,” neighbor Nancy Crim said. “We would have never thought that this was right here in the neighborhood.”
CBS46 learned from police that marijuana was growing in eight different rooms with heat lamps and ventilation. It’s something neighbors just can’t believe.
“We love this place because it’s quiet and location,” neighbor Jae Kim said. “I heard that story and it’s a surprise.”
About 500 marijuana plants were confiscated from inside the house. Police arrested 51-year-old Ngoc Tan Nguyen and 49-year-old Nhat Van Le. Nguyen faces three charges of purchase, possession, manufacturing, distribution and sale of marijuana. Le faces one charge of manufacturing, distribution and sale of marijuana.
Neighbors said they know the woman who owns the house, and they did not realize she had rented it out to someone else.
A neighbor said police were in the neighborhood looking for a suspicious car. That’s when officers smelled a strong and distinct odor of marijuana while passing by the residence. A search warrant was served July 27. Police and detectives located what they call a sophisticated marijuana manufacturing operation.
Pictures given to CBS46 show the aftermath inside the house. You can see large ventilation tubes hanging from the ceiling. The garage is full of soil, hoses, and what appears to be stalks. Inside the house there is soil on the carpets and residue.
Neighbors said they had no idea what was going on inside that house. Some of them still didn’t know what happened weeks after the raid.
“They covered sheet rock over the windows to hide the heat lamps and lighting which I heard was running 24 hours,” Crim said.
People living here are glad police had a keen nose to smell the trouble growing in the neighborhood.
“For them to even suspect anything and follow up on that I appreciate all the hard work they’ve done,” Crim said.
Authorities said 50% more marijuana plants were seized in 2014 compared to the year before, and this year, they are on track to find even more.
In order to maximize their profits, investigators explain that growers will look for the biggest house they can find to fit more plants.
The advantage to growing inside over outside is that plants can be harvested three times a year as opposed to just once.
Police said growers need extra air conditioning units to grow the plants, and they may employ techniques to hide them from view.
Growers also don’t want to alert the power company to how much electricity they are using, so they may try to steal it.
All these amateur adjustments may put extra stress on the house’s circuitry.
Authorities explain that’s the part that may interest neighbors because houses that grow marijuana are at greater risk for catching fire.
Copyright 2015 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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