Police make drug raid
Rural Jackson Township — Authorities say they seized about 1,000 marijuana plants and arrested two people in a drug raid Thursday at a residence in northwestern Owen County, near the Clay County town of Poland.
The bust also turned up five computers, three shotguns, two rifles and a handgun, said Owen County Sheriff Harley Melton. Police found five additional pounds of marijuana in a freezer and in separate bags each containing 3 ounces of "bud," he said.
John R. Williams, 31, a self-employed septic tank technician, and his wife, Melinda Williams, 29, both of 3870 Hale Hill Road in Poland, were arrested and booked into the Owen County Jail Thursday. The two posted bond and were released, according to jail records.
They each face charges of cultivating marijuana over 30 grams, possession of marijuana and maintaining a common nuisance. Police also recommended charges of theft based on evidence indicating the two were stealing satellite signals, said Owen County sheriff's Detective William Snodgrass.
Investigators with the Owen County Sheriff's Department and the Indiana State Police marijuana eradication team worked together on the case, which began several weeks ago after police were tipped off of possible drug activity, Snodgrass said.
At noon Thursday, the investigators, assisted by Indiana Conservation officers, raided the Williams' double-wide trailer and minibarn, said Indiana State Police Sgt. J.D. Maxwell. Inside the 20-by-20-foot barn, they reportedly found an irrigation system that included lights, aluminum siding on the ceiling to reflect heat, a generator, fertilizer and marijuana worth a total of about $100,000 in street value, he said.
"It's a good hit," Maxwell said. "I've never seen a barn with so much wiring — an ungodly amount of electrical wires to run that power. The boy's out of business."
Because of the operation's size, a federal agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration flew to the residence by helicopter. He recommended forfeiture of the Williams' property, said state police trooper Mike Clouse.
As a result, several vehicles were seized, including two four-wheelers, three pickup trucks and a vehicle used in Williams' septic tank business, Maxwell said.
Police suspect the two may have been growing marijuana since moving into the residence three years ago.
The confiscated plants were in various stages of development, from rows of tiny pots holding recently planted seedlings to small and midsized plants to others that were fully grown. The investigators also seized five computers and monitors they plan to send to a lab for further investigation.
Police hope the analysis will reveal names of people who bought drugs from Williams or were involved with the operation in some way.
"At this point, we don't know (his buyers)," . "But we're not done yet." Melton said
Meanwhile, the sheriff's department expects to continue to encounter illegal drugs in Owen County, the most predominant being the stimulant methamphetamine, Melton said. The controlled substance is easily brewed with ingredients found at any drugstore and can be prepared virtually anywhere — even in a vehicle.
"It's so cheap to make and they can move from place to place with it very easily," Melton said.
But after the Williams' bust, Melton said, drug activity in Owen County will likely slow down for a while.
"Everybody will be real careful," he said. "It's going to make it a little more difficult for us to do our job. But it's not very long until they start getting careless again."
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