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Home  |  News  |  Suspect in $73K marijuana bust may have fled state

Suspect in $73K marijuana bust may have fled state
Friday, October 14, 2011

LEESVILLE, SC (WIS) - Lexington County narcotics agents on Thursday seized 73 marijuana plants, with a street value of about $73,000, after executing a search warrant at a home on Ben Franklin Road near Leesville, according to the sheriff.

Lexington County Sheriff James R. Metts said officers are looking for the home's resident, 40-year-old Alexei Garcia, 40, who was not home when officers executed the search warrant at the residence at about 10 a.m. on Thursday. Metts said Garcia might have fled the state.

Officers received information that an indoor marijuana growing operation was being operated at the home, Metts said, and executed a search warrant at the residence. Officers found that marijuana was being grown in one bedroom at the front of the home and a second bedroom at the rear of the home.

Officers found 73 marijuana plants, which the officers seized, as well as 30 high-intensity grow lamps and sophisticated electrical equipment, which was used to power the indoor marijuana growing operation, Metts said.
The indoor marijuana growing operation that Garcia operated at the Ben Franklin Road home is connected to sophisticated, large-scale indoor marijuana growing operations that NET officers found earlier this month at seven homes near Batesburg, Gilbert and Leesville, Metts said.

In the previous cases, officers arrested seven persons and seized 51 pounds of marijuana, which was packaged for distribution, and 373 marijuana plants, Metts said. The packaged marijuana and marijuana plants had a combined street value of $484,000.

The arrests and seizures of marijuana plants and packaged marijuana resulted from an eight-month undercover investigation that NET officers conducted concerning a large-scale, sophisticated indoor marijuana growing ring that was based at homes in western Lexington County, Metts said. At each home used in the marijuana growing operation, electricity illegally was connected from power poles to the residences, where illicit electricity was used to power a sophisticated system of grow lights and irrigation equipment.

Metts said the case remains under investigation, and the sheriff said officers might arrest additional persons. Officers are continuing to investigate where marijuana from the indoor marijuana growing operations was sold and how the marijuana was distributed.

Metts asked anyone with information about indoor marijuana growing operations to call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.

Source: http://www.wistv.com/story/15689769/suspect-in-73k-marijuana-bust-may-have-fled-state

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