Sophisticated Indoor Marijuana Growing Operation Uncovered In Wagoner County

Friday, September 10th 2010, 1:03 pm
By: News On 6

By Craig Day, The News On 6

WAGONER COUNTY, OKLAHOMA -- Tulsa Police and Wagoner County deputies teamed up Friday to serve search warrants on a home in an unincorporated part of the county where they found a surprisingly sophisticated marijuana growing operation.

Tulsa police say an ongoing drug investigation, including months of surveillance, led them to a house at 20747 East 31st Place, in the Renaissance Park neighborhood in Wagoner County. They found an extensive marijuana growing operation inside.

They also arrested 28-year-old Ricky Mai on a number of drug counts including cultivation of marijuana.

"Nice neighborhood, nice house, a fairly new house. And to find something like this, this is unusual," said Sergeant Wendell Franklin, Tulsa Police Department.

Wagoner County Pot Bust

Not only is it unusual to find a grow house in such a nice neighborhood, it's also rare to find such a sophisticated growing operation. Franklin, who often works undercover drug cases, says plants and equipment were found everywhere inside the house.

"The master bedroom, the master bath, the master bedroom closet, the utility room, the living room, the kitchen area, the dining area," he said.

Even the attic was used for a sophisticated ventilation system that piped the marijuana odor through the roof.

"The mailman could walk up here.  Anybody could walk up to this house and not notice anything out of the ordinary about it," said Sergeant Wendell Franklin of the TPD.

Investigators pulled out 300 plants, worth about $300,000, ventilation tubing, fertilizer, thousand-watt bulbs and more.

"One of the first ones in my 14-year career that I've seen that is this extensive," Franklin said.

The grower even bypassed the electric meter, tapping directly into the electric line to avoid anyone noticing a sky high electric bill.

"In the grand scheme of things, this is small. But for us, it's huge, because we haven't seen a system this elaborate in the Tulsa area in a long time," he said.

Officers said no one actually lived at the home.