THP helicopter helps find 44 marijuana plants in Flag Pond

Brad Hicks • Jun 15, 2012 at 9:29 PM

FLAG POND — A Flag Pond man will be charged with manufacturing marijuana after officials discovered more than three dozen marijuana plants of various sizes growing on his property near the North Carolina border, according to Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley.

Luther Crumb, 4966 Flag Pond Road, will be charged, Hensley said. The sheriff said the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department intends to present Crumb’s case to a county grand jury to seek an indictment on the manufacture of marijuana charge. The grand next meets July 13.

Hensley said marijuana plants were spotted Friday from a Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopter that the sheriff’s department was utilizing to conduct flyover operations. Hensley said the helicopter, which is routinely used locally as part of the Governor’s Task Force on Marijuana, had the day off from flyover operations, so the sheriff’s department requested its use.

“We were able to get the helicopter because this is its off day with the task force, and we utilized them to fly in Unicoi County,” Hensley said.

After officers spotted marijuana plants in the Mill Creek area of the county, the helicopter was flown further south, where the plants on Crumb’s property were spotted, Hensley said. Because officials spotted marijuana plants, they were able to enter the property and Crumb gave them consent to search, Hensley said.

In all, sheriff’s department officials located 44 plants on Crumb’s property, ranging in size from several inches to several feet tall and growing in pots and plots located throughout the property, including on the back porch of Crumb’s residence, Hensley said. Ten firearms were also seized from Crumb’s residence, Hensley said.

Hensley also said there was evidence of marijuana use based on the paraphernalia found, including a cigarette pack containing marijuana cigarettes. Hensley said Crumb confessed that the marijuana plants belong to him.

Hensley said Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Frank Rogers has been in contact with Assistant District Attorney General Fred Lance regarding the charges against Crumb.

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