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INDEPENDENCE — A Kansas man has been arrested in connection with the largest indoor marijuana growing operation in Grayson County history, and a police have taken out a warrant for a North Carolina man allegedly involved in the case.
Richard Welch was apprehended in Junction City, Kan., according to the Grayson County Sheriff’s Department.
Warrants have been obtained for Jason Troy Jenkins, 38, of 459 Dix Creek Road of Leicester, N.C., charging him with manufacturing marijuana.
Grayson Sheriff Richard Vaughan said additional arrests are expected.
The sheriff’s department discovered the operation in the Flat Ridge community on Aug. 19, when Investigator Todd Perkins followed up on a complaint filed by Appalachian Power. Utility workers noticed heavy duty wiring by-passing the meter and reported the occupants of the residence for stealing power.
Perkins found no one at home at the house in the woods about a half-mile off Pine Branch. He chased — but was unable to apprehend — a pickup truck that fled from the residence.
After obtaining a search warrant, deputies found a sophisticated indoor operation producing pounds of high-grade hydroponic marijuana, according to a sheriff’s department press release.
Of the more than 500 marijuana plants in various stages of growth, more than 340 plants were mature and were producing a marketable product.
Each plant had the potential to produce between $2,500 and $3,000 worth of marijuana, bringing the total street value of the seizure to $1.5 million.
Firearms, including a fully-loaded AK-47 machine gun, along with all of the sophisticated electrical equipment were seized from the residence.
If the case results in a conviction, the house and 50 acres of land could also be seized and sold at auction.