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Authorities see spike in pot growing

Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department, the Mississippi Departmentof Corrections, and Southwest Mississippi Narcotics EnforcementUnit officials said information from several neighbors led them to17 marijuana plants in a home in Bogue Chitto on Friday.

Capt. John Whitaker of SMNEU said two arrests were made as aresult of the investigation, though officials said littleinformation on the suspects or their exact addresses can bereleased until the probe is closer to completion.

“We received information on two individuals in the Bogue Chittoarea who had been involved in drug activity,” Whitaker said. “Soofficers from those agencies went to the residence in Bogue Chittowhere we found the plants.”

The plants were potted, and ranged from about 2 feet tall toabout 5.5 feet tall. There was also some drug paraphernalia and apistol and two rifles that were confiscated from the residence.

“This was going to be used for distribution,” he said.

Whitaker said the two suspects were charged with manufacture ofa controlled substance enhanced by a firearm as well as possessionof a firearm by a convicted felon. But it was the watchful eyes ofthe neighborhood that clued in authorities.

“We had gotten several complaints on this residence,” Whitakersaid. “Those calls led to a narcotics investigation that led to theseizure of these plants.”

Since last week, Whitaker said the sheriff’s department andSMNEU have turned over 35 marijuana plants in three separateinstances.

James A. Laird, 51, of 3211 Mallalieu Dr., was arrested lastSaturday after the sheriff’s department was called on a disturbanceand the responding officer came across about eight small marijuanaplants, Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing said.

Ten more plants were confiscated in another unrelated situationwhen Robert Bailey, 18, of 441 Stoneybrook Trail, was also arrestedfor possession of a controlled substance on Monday.

Rushing said summer tends to be a good time for law enforcementofficials to catch people growing marijuana.

“This is the time of year we start to get them,” he said. “Intwo of these cases it was just from them getting out and gettingthe information.”

The sheriff praised the working relationship his department haswith Southwest Narcotics.

“Things like this are the good parts of working with them,” hesaid. “It’s really working out for us so far.”