Accused pot grower kept to himself, neighbors say
Two of Jason Cy Lewis' neighbors in Baton, who was arrested Wednesday and accused of having an "elaborate" marijuana-growing operation in his house, say they knew little about him except that he kept to himself.
Lewis, 40, moved into the house at 1454 Conway Drive, which is still in the name of his late stepfather, Timothy Sides, less than two years ago after Sides died. The neighbors said they saw Lewis there with his three dogs, but it was quiet. They said they had no hint of a marijuana farm inside.
One person who entered Lewis' confidence, however, had a good idea of what was going on and told authorities. A search warrant affadavit filed with the clerk of court stated that an informant who had been wired with a transmitter, a video recording device and some cash was sent to the house. Lewis allowed him in, and he was able to get enough video and audio evidence for investigators to obtain a search warrant Wednesday morning just before 8 a.m.
Narcotics agents raided the house about two hours later. They were met by Lewis' dogs, but Lewis was nowhere to be found. About 20 minutes later, Lewis pulled up the driveway in a 1999 Ford Explorer.
"He had that 'deer in the headlights' look," Detective David Barbour said. "I don't think he knew what we were doing there."
Before long, it became clear to anyone nearby -- deputies filled the front lawn with piles of potting soil, grow lights, timers, filters, infra-red thermometers, fans, and other equipment not commonly found in stores, all brought from inside the house. Also taken from the house was a .25-caliber pistol.
"He obtained most of this stuff off the Internet," Barbour said.
Law enforcement officials had their eyes on Lewis long before the tipster told them what was going on in his house, though.
Lewis was convicted in 2002 in Caldwell County of felony possession of marijuana. He also pleaded guilty to having a controlled substance at the Caldwell County jail. The drugs, Barbour said, had been stuffed inside his prosthetic leg.
Lewis was charged with felony manufacture of marijuana, felony maintaining a dwelling to keep or store a controlled substance, and felony possession of a firearm by a felon. His bond was set at $100,000. He is tentatively scheduled for a court hearing Nov. 21.