SPRING-The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Unit dismantled and removed a sophisticated hydroponic marijuana growing system from a South Montgomery County residence on Thursday.
Lt. Philip Cash, who heads up the SIU, said a tip led to the investigation at a neat brick tract home in the 29000 block of Rio Grande River near its dead end into Trinity River Court.
A warrant was prepared for the residence. No one was home when officers arrived, but MCSO K-9 Bianca gave a positive alert on the house, and when investigators entered there was no question what the dog detected, Cash said.
“There was an overwhelming smell of marijuana,” Cash said.
Along with multiple marijuana plants, Cash said investigators removed several thousand dollars worth of equipment, an automatic money counter and money ledgers with names, rolling papers and other paraphernalia. They also removed two loaded 12-guage shotguns, Cash said. One was in each of the two occupied bedrooms.
“These are high grade indoor marijuana plants, which are usually cloned plants and very high in Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC),” Cash said. “Hydroponic marijuana is four to five times stronger than what comes out of Mexico.”
When fully grown, each plant would yield between $1,500 and $3,500 worth of marijuana, he said.
The plants were cut at their bases and placed in an ice chest for transport. Cash said once the marijuana is dried it will be weighed and the level of the offense, expected to be a state jail felony, will be based on that.
Two male suspects have been identified in connection with the operation and warrants will likely be issued, Cash said.
Neighbors watched as investigators removed the plants, guns, lighting and other equipment from the home. Jonathan Mayfield, who has lived across the street from home since before its current residents moved in, said he was surprised on one hand, but not the other.
“I’m really surprised about the drugs,” Mayfield said. “I thought they were burglars.”
The pair was always coming and going late at night with no obvious work schedule, he said, often moving large items such as 4-wheelers in or out.
Another curious neighbor, who only identified himself as Brandon, said he had noticed many different people in and out of the house and wondered why.
Both men were glad to see the operation shutdown, but both are also planning to move. Mayfield said there was a recent SWAT scene on the adjoining street, Trinity River Court. His wife wants to return to Florida where they used to live and he is also ready to go.
Brandon is moving as well, but not so far. He said he and his wife simply do not want neighbors living so close.
The MCSO SIU received assistance from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and Texas Department of Public Safety narcotics officers.