Thursday, May 23 2013 11:28 PM EDT2013-05-24 03:28:07 GMT
Authorities said they broke up a huge drug operation in the Tennessee Valley. Twenty people were arrested Thursday morning and two more are charged in what investigators called overlapping drug ringsMore >>
Authorities said they broke up a huge drug operation in the Tennessee Valley. Twenty people were arrested Thursday morning and two more are charged in what investigators called overlapping drug rings.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 9:59 PM EDT2013-05-24 01:59:46 GMT
A train derailed at least 13 cars at Bear Creek, shutting down roads and causing a nearby school to evacuate. More >>
A train derailed at least 13 cars at Bear Creek, shutting down roads and causing a nearby school to evacuate.More >>
MORGAN COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -
One man was arrested in Morgan County Tuesday night after deputies found nearly 30 pots of marijuana at his home.
Morgan County Sheriff's deputies arrested Phillip Stapler, 49, at his Laceys Spring home after originally planning a welfare check.
After discovering 20 to 30 pots of marijuana growing inside a specially designed room in his home, Stapler was subsequently arrested.
Stapler had reportedly restructured a room in his home with special lighting and air conditioning to grow the marijuana plants.
Deputies later charged Stapler with unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana.
Technology is making it easier for people to grow their own marijuana crops.
In her years working narcotics and now as Sheriff of Morgan County, Ana Franklin said she had rarely seen indoor marijuana grow operations until 2012. She has seen three this year so far.
One bust that authorities say kept hundreds of thousands of dollars of pot off the streets came from an undercover operation. The others, Franklin said, came from observant deputies.
"Two of them were found responding to reports, issues, and welfare checks," said Franklin.
Tuesday night, when deputies went to a possible suicide threat call in Laceys Spring, investigators said they discovered an indoor pot nursery.
Franklin said the advent of high tech growing systems and easily found step-by-step instructions have lead to more of the more potent pot growers can cultivate behind closed doors.
"It's is a much stronger drug. It matures a lot quicker. It has a lot more budding potential," she said.
Authorities said most of Stapler's plants had died, so he was not charged for distribution, but he was charged with unlawful manufacturing of the drug.
"That's a Class A felony. It's the same felony as a drug lab because that's what they are operating now is a lab that is processing the marijuana from a seed and transposing it into a usable drug," said Franklin.
She said catching indoor pot growers by chance isn't all by chance. She said deputies have been trained more now than before on how to recognize the signs of a growing operation, obtain a warrant, and call in the drug agents.