Unaware they were being investigated by five law enforcement agencies, Timothy O’Neil III and his girlfriend, Margie Anderson, were using an elaborate watering, filtration and lighting system to grow high-grade marijuana in a crawl space in the attic of a Turtle Creek subdivision house near Slidell, authorities alleged Tuesday. The two were arrested Monday night after police raided the home and found 56 pot plants whose value exceeded $360,000; 21 rifles and handguns; and $5,000 in cash, state troopers said. In this Marijuana Pot Growing in Slidell, LA.
Louisiana State Police began suspecting O’Neil, 51, and Anderson, 38, of cultivating weed due to information detectives obtained about three months following a traffic stop on the north shore of a separate individual, Trooper Nick Manale explained. A subsequent investigation involving undercover agents as well as resources from the troopers, the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Louisiana National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Administration produced a search warrant for O’Neil’s residence, Manale said.
Investigators say they executed the warrant and discovered the marijuana-growing operation. Aside from the plants, arsenal and money, they seized drug paraphernalia and a 2007 Dodge pickup truck, Manale added. Manale noted that some $10,000 worth of the drug was packaged and ready for dealing.
O’Neil and Anderson were taken into custody and each jailed on counts of cultivation of marijuana; possession with intent to distribute marijuana; operation/creation of a clandestine laboratory for the unlawful manufacture of a controlled dangerous substance; conspiracy to distribute marijuana; possession of drug paraphernalia; and possession of firearms in the presence of a controlled, dangerous substance.
Anderson is also facing accusations of distribution of marijuana and violation of a drug-free zone. Sheriff’s Office records show O’Neil’s bond was set at $100,000 and Anderson’s at $125,000.
The sizeable bust left Turtle Creek Homeowners Association president Scott Wheat dumbfounded. The only problems his family-centric subdivision usually reports are garbage cans that are left out; cars that are improperly parked; and youngsters who loiter, he remarked.
“This sort of blows me away,” Wheat said. “This is, like, ‘What?’”
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