The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

May 13, 2013

Large indoor marijuana-growing operation discovered near Joplin

It might not be that big an indoor marijuana-growing operation by northern California standards.

But, for Missouri?

“This was the biggest and most sophisticated operation we’ve ever encountered,” Newton County Sheriff Ken Copeland said.

A tip led a sheriff’s deputy to a house west of Joplin at 3540 Whispering Hills on Friday afternoon. A search that followed turned up hundreds of marijuana plants of multiple strains and hybrids, and in various stages of growth and cultivation.

“Every room in the house had something to do with the operation,” the sheriff said.

Four rooms were full of plants under grow lights, with duct work and vents for humidifying, electrical control panels with timers, and clipboards with schedules for treatments, he said. Other rooms were dedicated to drying and packaging.

There were 396 plants in all. One hundred and seven half-pound to one-pound packages of processed pot were also found. The sheriff said a Drug Enforcement Administration agent from Springfield estimated the value of the indoor operation at $850,000.

Arrested and charged with first-degree trafficking in marijuana was Michael S. Holden, 35.

“He was the only one around and claimed to be the only one involved,” Copeland said.

Federal court records show this is not the first time Holden has been nabbed with an alleged growing operation. He was sentenced to 28 months in prison in May 2005 for an operation in Newton County involving more than 100 plants. He was still under court supervision for that conviction as late as 2011.

Copeland said Holden told him that he was not released until about 10 months ago. The sheriff said investigators believe his operation had been up and running for at least a few months.

Electrical bills

Recent electrical bills for the residence where a large marijuana-growing operation was discovered have been running at about $1,000 per month, according to the Newton County sheriff.

1
Text Only
Crime & Courts
Local News
Sports
Facebook
Poll

A new provision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture allows qualifying districts with high percentages of students on food assistance to allow all students to eat free breakfasts and lunches. Would you agree with this provision?

Yes
No
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
NDN Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow