Officers with the Newton County Sheriff's Department seized a large “indoor grow” of marijuana on Friday afternoon, at a house at 3540 Whispering Hills, Joplin.
JOPLIN — Officers with the Newton County Sheriff's Department seized a large "indoor grow" of marijuana on Friday afternoon, at a house at 3540 Whispering Hills, Joplin.
"We received some information that he (Michael S. Holden, 35) may be growing marijuana and one of our narcotics officers went out to the residence," Newton County Sheriff Ken Copeland said. "He actually could smell it and see in one of the out-buildings, the door was open so he could see. We encountered the guy and talked to him, the guy signed a consent search form and everything progressed from there."
Once inside, Copeland said that "every room in the residence was set up at some point, he would have a starter room where he started the plants, then moved as they progressed to other rooms. He had an electronic watering system, drainage system set up, grow lights and ductwork, humidifiers. Thousands of dollars in equipment."
According to a press release from the sheriff's office, it was "the largest and most sophisticated indoor grow operation that we have ever encountered A DEA agent was also sent to the suspect's home.
"The DEA agent that was there put a total amount of $850,000 on the entire operation," said Copeland. "Street value of marijuana if it is good quality stuff is about $2,000 a pound. The guy had 107 half-pound packages already packaged up and ready to distribute."
Officers seized a total of 396 marijuana plants, 107 bags of processed marijuana and a large quantity of grow lights and equipment used in the operation. They also confiscated two motorcycles and a trailer.
Holden was arrested and charged with trafficking drugs, first degree and a $500,000 bond has been set. He is currently being held in Newton County Jail.