By Tamas Mondovics
Deputies with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office received some information earlier this month about a possible marijuana grow operation at the home of a Mountain City man.
According to the Sheriff report, officers went to the address of 508 Wilcox Rd and spoke with the owner of the property, 65-year-old Zollie Lee Johnson JR. (Junior), who gave permission to search the property.
Upon search, officers located over 80 marijuana plants growing in Mr. Johnson’s garden deputies said, adding that some plants appeared to have already been harvested.
Mr. Johnson was charged/booked and released with manufacturing marijuana.
Local law enforcement officials have been urging residents to be vigilant to avoid illegal activities taking root in a neighborhood.
Growing drugs in a backyard garden or indoor does not mean out of sight, out of mind.
According to experienced law enforcement officers, drug nurseries come in many shapes and forms and can be inside homes of all sizes, putting neighbors in danger by bringing to the community both drug users and drug dealers and all the criminal elements that come with it.
A recent report ranked the state of Florida on top for marijuana grow houses, and that growers are getting smarter about concealing their operations.
But, as the recent local report shows, smaller towns and communities are no exception to the trend.
While growing some plants in the backyard is a no brainer, according to officers, identifying marks of an indoor drug grow house may include the notable increase of electricity as high-wattage light bulbs are needed to help speed up plant cycles and run air conditioning constantly to cool the hot lights.
Other signs of a grow house may include blocked windows, electric power lines that run illegally into the home, or fertilizer being carried into the house without any indication of a garden or flowerbed.
One more factor that seems to stand out is growers owning vicious dogs to protect their crops, which creates a hazardous environment for area residents.
Neighbors or property owners often claiming to have had no idea of drugs being grown in a nearby home, but as it was the case in the recent incident on Wilcox Road in Mountain City, seeing and reporting works.
She Sheriff’s office is encouraging residents to feel free to call law enforcement when they notice suspicious activities.