Edmonson Voice Staff
Sometimes people get what's known as a "gut feeling," and it's something that oft times can't be explained. Using their training, intuition, and relying heavily on an old fashioned "gut feeling," Local police were able to turn a friendly conversation into one of the largest marijuana busts that's been seen here in quite some time.
On Monday, May 18th, Deputy Wally Ritter and Officer Garth Avery carried out what's known as a "knock and talk" at 521 Oak Hill Road after receiving a tip that there was possibly drug activity at the address. A "knock and talk" is simply where officers knock on someone's door and simply ask a few questions. If there seems to be anything suspicious, officers follow up accordingly, if there isn't, everyone has a nice day and life goes on. According to police, after a short conversation with the residents, something seemed off to the officers and probable cause for a search warrant was found.
Police then obtained a search warrant for the residence and all outbuildings on the property, and they soon discovered a massive amount of evidence.
Authorities then uncovered three separate marijuana growth stations with a total of 40 plants, most being over 6ft tall. Each station was in operation with no sunlight or rainfall with the buildings being completely blacked out and disguised as run-down storage sheds. The plants were grown strictly via grow lights, automatic water pumps, fans, electronic timers and exhaust fans vented through the roofs. "This is one of, if not the most elaborate grows that we've ever seen," said Ritter, who played a big role in Monday night's operation.
Inside the house, police also found approximately one pound of marijuana bud being processed along with numerous bottles of schedule II and schedule IV narcotics, with ledgers maintaining a running pill count. $6,328.00 in cash was also seized.
Howard Baird, 54, of Brownsville, was charged with cultivating in marijuana - more than 5 plants/ 1st offense; trafficking in marijuana greater than 8oz, less than 5lbs/ 1st offense; and trafficking in controlled substance 1st degree/ 1st offense. All of these charges were firearm enhanced due to there being multiple firearms on scene.
"This whole case stemmed from a multi-agency cooperative effort," said Sheriff Shane Doyle. "It proves that by working together, great things can be accomplished for our county." Doyle also commended local officers for their persistence on this case. "Because they used sound tactics, solid police work, and trusted their instincts, our kids are safer today than they were yesterday."
Along with Ritter and Avery, deputies Stoney Phillips, Jimmy and Amanda Coniglio, and Officer Jeff Jewell were on scene, along with Constable Tim Skees.
"Whenever we're getting drugs, guns, and the cash that funds them off the streets, it's always a good day on the job," said Officer Garth Avery.
"This is what happens when different agencies operate together with same agenda," said Ritter. "This will not be the last story like this."