Suspicious person leads Anderson Police to major drug bust

Feb 25, 2015 8:14 PM

Anderson Police responded to a report of public disturbance at a motel parking lot, and ended up stumbling onto a large amount of marijuana and heroin.
It happened at the Best Western Inn on Gateway Drive Tuesday night, and involved suspects from as far away as Pennsylvania.

When police arrived to the motel they spotted a group of people in the parking lot and noticed something wasn't right.
Police found a total of 200 pounds of marijuana in a U-Haul van and another sedan, and although it was a large amount of pot -- no one was taken into custody -- the Anderson police chief says there was a good reason for that.

"It is much more advantageous for us at this point to have them out of custody and still moving around and making connections at places where we are tying the case to."

That's because the four people Anderson Police cited last night outside the "Best Western Inn", may be involved in a large-scale marijuana growing operation.
Police found 200 pounds of marijuana inside a U-Haul van and a sedan belonging to the suspects.

"This case is multi-jurisdictional, across state lines and involves conspiracy of a lot of people...there is a huge indication that this going to be connected to a significant size cultivation operation."

One of the suspects is from Mendocino county, and the others are from as far away as Pennsylvania, Washington state and Kentucky.
Anderson Police Chief Mike Johnson says the suspects don't have a violent criminal history, and that's why his officers let them walk.
Now Anderson Police are hoping the suspects lead them to a large plot of marijuana.

"It's very common for transportation of large quantities of marijuana to be done here in the North State."

People from around the U.S. involved in marijuana cultivation come to California's "Emerald Triangle" -- it includes Shasta, Trinity and Humboldt counties -- and sometimes Mendocino County.
Shasta County Senior Deputy District Attorney Ben Hanna says the secluded land and water supply in those counties make a perfect breeding ground for growing marijuana.

"The marijuana is grown in Shasta County, processed, packed in Shasta County, and a lot of it ends up in other states. We've seen situations in which Shasta County marijuana has been destined for places as far as Washington state, Oregon, Minnesota even."

Rental trucks have become the most popular mode of transporting marijuana across the country, says Hanna.

"There are probably at least dozens if not more cases that I just personally know about or have handled over the last several years, where people have been involved in interstate transportation of marijuana -- it's something that is very prevalent here."

The four suspects could be looking at felony charges once Anderson Police wraps up its investigation --
Shasta County Senior Deputy District Attorney Ben Hanna says each pound of marijuana runs up to six-thousand dollars, and it's likely the four suspects are involved in a marijuana growing operation.


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