Lexington Officers Seize 73 Marijuana Plants at Indoor Growing Operation
Officers with the Lexington County Multi-Agency Narcotics Enforcement Team (NET) on Thursday, October 13 seized 73 marijuana plants, with a street value of about $73,000, after they executed a search warrant at a home on Ben Franklin Road near Leesville. Lexington County Sheriff James R. Metts said officers will obtain an arrest warrant on a charge of manufacturing marijuana for Alexei Garcia, 40, who lives at the home at 1640 Ben Franklin Road, Leesville. Garcia was not home when NET officers executed the search warrant at the residence at about 10 a.m. on Thursday.
Garcia is 6-foot and has black hair and brown eyes, Metts said. Garcia, who previously has lived in Florida and Texas, might have fled South Carolina. Officers received information that an indoor marijuana growing operation was being operated at the Ben Franklin Road home, Metts said. After they executed a search warrant at the residence, officers found that marijuana was being grown in one bedroom at the front of the home and a second bedroom at the rear of the home. Officers found 73 marijuana plants, which the officers seized, as well as 30 high-intensity grow lamps and sophisticated electrical equipment, which was used to power the indoor marijuana growing operation, Metts said.
The indoor marijuana growing operation that Garcia operated at the Ben Franklin Road home is connected to sophisticated, large-scale indoor marijuana growing operations that NET officers found earlier this month at seven homes near Batesburg, Gilbert and Leesville, Metts said. In the previous cases, officers arrested seven persons and seized 51 pounds of marijuana, which was packaged for distribution, and 373 marijuana plants, Metts said. The packaged marijuana and marijuana plants had a combined street value of $484,000.
The arrests and seizures of marijuana plants and packaged marijuana resulted from an eight-month undercover investigation that NET officers conducted concerning a large-scale, sophisticated indoor marijuana growing ring that was based at homes in western Lexington County, Metts said. At each home used in the marijuana growing operation, electricity illegally was connected from power poles to the residences, where illicit electricity was used to power a sophisticated system of grow lights and irrigation equipment. Metts said the case remains under investigation, and the sheriff said officers might arrest additional persons. Officers are continuing to investigate where marijuana from the indoor marijuana growing operations was sold and how the marijuana was distributed.