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Drug bust a $10,000 boost for ag classes

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By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

An illegal Grayson County marijuana operation has forfeited around $10,000 of its equipment to local agriculture classes.
Authorities zeroed in an on what they called the “largest indoor marijuana operation in Grayson history” last year after the suspects stole electricity to grow their crops.
The complaint filed by Appalachian Power Co. led to law enforcement going to the address and discovering that the stolen power was being used to run the operation.
After obtaining a warrant, police seized 500 marijuana plants from the Flat Ridge home in August 2011.
Grayson Sheriff Richard Vaughan estimated the street value of the plants at up to $1.5 million.
Deputies also seized an extensive amount of grow lights and associated equipment used in the sizable marijuana operation.

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Though police sold off vehicles and other items once used in the criminal activity through a recent auction, representatives of Grayson, Carroll, Galax and the Twin County Drug Task Force decided to not put the horticultural equipment in the sale.
“Get some use out of it,” was the collective decision that law enforcement community arrived at, they told The Gazette.
With that in mind, the authorities decided to divide the equipment between agricultural classes at the Twin County high schools.
It’s no small donation, as one transformer required to run the grow light cost $275. And police had seized 24 of those and 24 lights, as well as some fertilizer.
Even just a bulb for the light cost more than $100.
“This will allow us more opportunities to grow plants for our spring sales,” said Randy Webb, an ag teacher from Carroll County High School, who accepted the donation for the school system.

Vaughan said he's glad police were able to find a good use for these confiscated items.
"The Twin County Drug Task Force does an excellent job of seizing items from local drug dealers," he said in an e-mail. "We frequently seize items utilized by drug dealers in their operation, and also seize any and all items that were purchased with the proceeds of the illegal activity. I am glad that area schools will benefit from the seizure."