An investigation near Jonesborough Sunday into the death of a woman from a gunshot wound led to the discovery of a large growing operation for hallucinogenic mushrooms, according to Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal.
Sheriff’s deputies went to 101 Rambling Road around 6 a.m. Sunday because a 24-year-old woman’s body was found in the front yard. Her name was being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
“It’s still an active investigation, so we really can’t release much on it,” Graybeal said Monday afternoon about the death investigation. “It’s really too early in that investigation to say a lot because we’re just not sure.”
But Kelvin Barnard Conerway, 25, of the Rambling Road address, faces charges related to the mushrooms and was arrested Monday evening.
Conerway invited deputies in the trailer at 101 Rambling and inside they found a locked room that he would not open, Graybeal said.
So the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation was called and a search warrant was obtained. The mushrooms were found inside the room.
“So we don’t know how much product he’s sold or what all he’s done, but you’re probably looking at around $50,000, just what you see right here,” Graybeal said.
Recovered from inside the trailer were 700 mushrooms, two firearms, a quarter pound of marijuana and a quarter pound of dried mushrooms.
Most of this was on display at the sheriff’s office Monday, as well as components used in mushroom growing.
“I think the unique thing about this is, we’ve seen mushrooms but I’ve never seen a mushroom grow lab in the county,” Graybeal said.
Graybeal said the mushroom lab was being cultivated each day and was similar to a marijuana growing lab in that the mushrooms could be grown year-round.
In Graybeal’s roughly 34 years in law enforcement, he said he has never seen such a growing operation.
Charges pending against Conerway are manufacturing of schedule I drugs, possession of schedule VI drugs for resale, possession of a firearm while committing a dangerous felony and maintaining a dwelling where drugs are sold.
He was being held in the Washington County Detention Center on $40,000 bond.
Graybeal said more information on the death investigation will be forthcoming.
The investigation is ongoing and more charges are pending. Anyone with information on this mushroom growing operation or any other information is asked to contact the Washington County Sheriff’s Office at (423) 788-1414.