CANTON, Ga. – Police in Georgia accidentally stumbled onto an illegal marijuana operation last Friday, according to ABC News. The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office arrested 36-year-old Carlos Suarez-Diaz after finding the illegal weed while searching the home with a warrant for another individual.
Police found more than 100 pounds of marijuana along with 287 cannabis plants worth about $1,287,000 in the basement of the home. Authorities also found several guns during the search and expensive equipment used to cultivate marijuana.
The Cherokee County Sheriff's Department released a statement which said that an unlocked basement door led them to the reefer revelation.
“When the deputy opened that door, they observed what appeared to be a large marijuana grow house,” said the statement.
A neighbor of Suarez-Diaz told reports that the smell was pungent.
"Aw man! Skunk weed. You could smell it all the way across the street," said neighbor J.J. McGovern.
McGovern also noted that he once loaned Suarez-Diaz his lawn mower and joked, "I guess he wasn’t cutting the grass, he was growing the grass,” said McGovern.
Another neighbor, Kristin Brown was also surprised by the news, adding “It’s very upsetting, but I guess it just means it can happen anywhere.”
Illegal Weed: Catch Me if You Can
Cherokee Narcotics Squad Commander Phil Price told WSB 2 News that the illegal weed operation was quite sophisticated.
“This is not a mom and pop operation,” he said, adding that he believed the drugs were being sent out of state.
Spokeswoman for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, Sgt. Marianne Kelley said when Suarez-Diaz saw the authorities, he started running from detectives through the backyards of his stunned neighbors in the affluent Atlanta suburb.
After Suarez-Diaz was caught the first time, he escaped by getting out of his handcuffs and running away, almost hopping another fence before being captured for the second time by police.
Suarez-Diaz was arrested and charged with alleged drug trafficking, alleged possession of marijuana, the alleged manufacturing of illegal weed, escape from an officer and obstruction of an officer. He is being held without bond at the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center on the four felony charges.
Officials say Suarez-Diaz is a resident of California, Puerto Rico, and Georgia, where he rented the Canton home located off Gold Mill Ridge, estimated to be worth $500,000.