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Alleged pot growing operation busted

A Clark County man pleaded not guilty to a felony drug charge after deputies seized 40 marijuana plants from inside his New Carlisle apartment.

Andrew Thompson, 24, has been charged with illegally manufacturing drugs, a fifth-degree felony. Thompson asked for time to consult with an attorney. His case has been continued to March 8. Bond was set at $5,000.

Clark County Sheriff’s Office deputies received a call Jan. 8 from Thompson’s landlord and grandfather that he believed Thompson was allegedly growing marijuana inside his apartment at 339 W. Jefferson St. That day deputies reported seeing the plants through windows when they responded to the apartment, but waited for consent from Thompson before entering and seizing the drugs.

Deputies alleged they found young plants, some about waist high, in the bathroom, laundry room, kitchen and bedroom closet. Deputies also located growing equipment, including tents, lights and fans, and dried marijuana, smoking pipes and scales, Sgt. Scott Elliott said.

Neighbors reported smelling a strange odor at the apartment. Elliott said suspicious activity should always be reported to law enforcement.

“You could walk by the apartment and actually smell it,” he said. “I don’t know how anybody could live next door to that.”

Thompson claimed the drugs were for personal use and he didn’t intend to sell them, according to the incident report.

The plants and dried marijuana were sent to the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigations lab to be confirmed as being an illegal substance. Thompson was charged this week after confirmation was received, Elliott said.

The sheriff’s office busts roughly three growing operations a year. At full height, the plants could have been valued at $1,000 each.

“It can make a large difference to a community, taking 40 plants out of an apartment, and stopping his operation, at least for now,” he said.

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