Recently, police in Altoona, Iowa executed a search warrant at the home of Jacob Alexander Willis. According to police, Willis was under some sort of investigation, presumably narcotics related. Upon entering Willis’s house police discovered over 200 marijuana plants. Law enforcement said the marijuana plants covered most of the house. Willis apparently constructed an intricate system for watering and heating the plants.
In addition to the pot plants, police found harvested and packaged marijuana in the home. Jacob Willis has been charged with possession with the intent to deliver marijuana, manufacture of marijuana and a tax stamp violation. All of the charges are Class D felonies punishable by up to five years in prison. However, in certain factual situations, the possession with the intent to deliver charge and the manufacture charge are considered one violation of Iowa Code Section 124.401 and would merge at sentencing. Thus, it is very possible that Willis is only looking at a maximum of ten years instead of fifteen.
Altoona police said this is one of the biggest indoor grow operations they’ve ever seen. That got us thinking. Is 200 plants really big; or is it just really big for little Altoona, Iowa? So we decided to do a quick google search for “indoor grow operations busted” and here is what we found:
- Just a few days ago law enforcement busted a father and son team from Goodman, Wisconsin who had a grow operation with almost 300 marijuana plants.
- In suburban New York City a mother of two was arrested and charged with cultivating an estimated 3,000 marijuana plants! Yes you read that right, 3,000! The plants are valued at around $3,000,000.00. Agents said this was a very sophisticated operation.
- At the end of May, detectives in Golden Gate Estates, Florida uncovered two indoor grow operations in one week. One operation contained about 95 plants and the other 81 marijuana plants. The combined street value of the operations was about $528,000.00!
- Another article out of Florida discusses recent and past raids in Lake County, Florida. In 2012, 32,306 pot plants from indoor grow operations were destroyed in Florida.
- Earlier this month, state and federal authorities raided a house in Moreno Valley, California and discovered 417 marijuana plants worth an estimated $1,500,000.00. (Note the difference in value from the bust in New York. The California operation had only 14% of the total plants in the New York grow operation but was worth 50% of the value of the New York grow operation).
- Finally, last month in Oak Hills, San Bernardino County, California, authorities busted a house and discovered over 1,700 marijuana plants! The house was over 3,200 square feet and had an advanced lighting and fan filtering system.
So what does this tell us about the recent bust in Altoona? Well it surely wasn’t small, but around the country there are far larger and more sophisticated marijuana grow operations. Of course, regardless of the size of the grow operation; if you find yourself in Jacob Willis’a position or any of the individuals in the aforementioned articles, it’s a big deal! You will need an experienced criminal defense team to advocate for you. Often these cases start in state court but eventually migrate to federal court. The attorneys at the Stowers Law Firm are experienced in narcotics defense in both state and federal court. If you need a lawyer for a drug related case, do not hesitate to contact us today.
- DRUG BUST: Sophisticated Grow Operation Found (whotv.com)
- Underground Middleburg bunker one of four illegal marijuana growing sites busted by police (jacksonville.com)
- Odor Leads Deputies To Marijuana Grow Operation (fox17online.com)
- Oxnard marijuana-grow bust nets $3.5M in pot, 2 arrests (abclocal.go.com)
- Wealthy New York Mom Ran $3M Pot-Growing Operation (blackamericaweb.com)
- Agents Seize 1,000 Pot Plants During Lauderdale County Raid (whnt.com)
- Detectives uncover ‘elaborate’ pot-growing operation in Ahwatukee home (azfamily.com)