While most have focused attention on construction at Parkside shopping center, Sheriff Pat Melton said no one seemed to notice $236,000 worth of marijuana growing just about 100 yards away.
“Honestly, it was a pretty smart place to have it hid,” Melton said.
The 118 plants, estimated by law enforcement to be worth about $2,000 a pop, were growing over a steep dirt mound behind the construction, also about 100 yards from the Riverford Crossing Apartments.
The plants weren’t visible from either establishment, Melton said.
“It’s not one of the biggest we’ve ever seen and not one of the smallest,” Melton said of the size of Monday’s bust.
Deputies found the operation after receiving a tip.
A lieutenant from the Franklin County Fire Department had to use a rope and rappel down to reach and remove most of the plants because the hills surrounding it were so steep.
Deputies also found a fertilizer bag, Melton said, and a track that had been shoveled up to the area, allowing easier access from the bottom of the dirt mound.
Some of the plants were six feet tall, others just three feet tall, but Melton said most were just starting to bud.
“It had another 30 or 45 days to mature.”
Melton wouldn’t disclose whether his office has any suspects in the case, just that it is an ongoing investigation.