Indoor marijuana operation called 'elaborate'

34 plants under grow lights, with fertilizer
Oct. 31, 2013 @ 08:12 AM

Investigators with the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office seized 34 marijuana plants Wednesday morning described as "high-grade" that they found growing inside a house in the Baton area equipped with an extensive indoor plant nursery, officials said.

“This was one of the most elaborate indoor marijuana grow operations we have seen,” Sheriff Alan Jones said in a press release. “This was a professional operation capable of producing pounds of high-grade marijuana.”

Caldwell County sheriff’s deputies and ICE narcotics agents executed a search warrant about 10 a.m. at 1454 Conway Drive, off Connelly Springs Road, and soon began hauling out to the front yard thousands of dollars worth of grow lights, ballasts, humidifiers, timers, plant chemicals, propagation trays, a digital weighing scale and other cultivation equipment, along with the 34 plants, which officials said were worth an estimated $85,000. There were two grow rooms in the small house, and the system was vented through the roof and the basement, the press release said.

Jason Cy Lewis, 40, was not at the house when the search began but arrived while it was under way. He was charged with one count each of felony manufacturing of marijuana, felony possession of a firearm by a felon and felony maintaining a dwelling to keep or store a controlled substance. His bond was set at $100,000 secured, and he is scheduled to appear today in Caldwell District Court.

Lewis had been under investigation for two months before obtaining enough probable cause to obtain the search warrant, the press release said. The Catawba County Sheriff's Office also helped with the investigation.