July 16, 2007 - Harvest came early for a marijuana crop growing in Spring Garden, but this harvest-- valued at roughly three million dollars -- won't be going to market.
"They range from seedlings up to full grown marijuana plants with really nice-size buds," said Sgt. Joe Bologna.
On the tranquil streets of Spring Garden at North 22nd and Wilcox, neighbors heard a lot of banging and hammering coming from the home.
"We just thought people moved in to fix the house. We had no idea what was going on," said Ann Flannigan.
"We always thought it was just construction, and then to hear this it's like incredible," said Christine McGee.
Police say the entire row home from basement to attic had been converted for growing marijuana with high power lights that mimic the sun.
"It's very sophisticated. It's one of the largest I've ever seen and I've been doing this for a while," said Bologna.
The marijuana farmers even thought to install a heavy-duty ventilation system that sucked the air through vents on the roof, so people at street level would not smell the marijuana. What they apparently didn't bank on was that someone would attempt to break in this morning while they were away, and a neighbor would call police after hearing breaking glass. Ninth district officers Corey Dorris and John Hayden would ultimately stumble onto the three-story marijuana farm.
"They thought there was a burglary in progress. They had to secure the property. They tactically did that and they found& a major marijuana growing farm," said Bologna.
Within hours, police would carry out bag after bag of marijuana plants leaving neighbors stunned.
"It's amazing. I kind of wonder how I didn't know that kind of operation was going on here and all the power that must be needed to generate it. I'm shocked," said Chuck Heard.
The homeowner, who rents the property, gave his lawyer a similar reaction, but declined to comment publicly.
A warrant has been issued for the renter's arrest. While admitting no role in the farming operation, he is making arrangements to surrender to authorities sometime early next week.
|Liveleak on Facebook|