BIG BUST: Grow Operation Shut Down

Thousands of dollars in marijuana plants sent five people sent to jail Friday.

Officers say most narcotics investigations begin with the arrests of dealers on the streets, but this time Police say they stopped the operation at its source.

People in the south side neighborhood near 1012 Leland say they rarely saw the occupants of the two story house and had little reason to be suspicious.

Neighbor Ben Sides says he was unaware of what was taking place right across the street from his home until Wednesday morning. “You kind of wonder why there would be so much traffic going in and out, but my mind didn’t jump to the idea of a drug operation going on,” he said.

Police say they weren’t tipped off by neighbors, they had the house under surveillance.

Sgt. Jason Halifax says investigators witnessed the sale of high-grade marijuana from the Des Moines home.  Then they obtained a search warrant and seized 150 marijuana plants on Wednesday with a street value of $100,000.

Officers also seized $50,000 worth of equipment allowing marijuana to grow using water instead of soil.

“It’s a good hit, it’s a good bust. They were at the production level so that indicates a good quantity of marijuana,” Sgt. Halifax said.

Police believe 41-year-old Julia Jones and 40-year-old Matthew Jones were in charge of the growing operation.  The two are charged with felony counts of manufacturing marijuana.

Three others were also booked on charges ranging from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute.

With five people in custody, officers believe they have put a stop to this operation, which is re-assuring for Ben Sides who is happy to see this type of activity out of his neighborhood.

It’s a little disconcerting that stuff could go on for as long as it did,” he added.

Officers also seized small amounts of meth, powdered cocaine, and two loaded handguns adding to the already long list of charges for the group.