A 47-year-old Culpeper man faces drug charges after police discovered more than 100 suspected marijuana plants growing in his basement Wednesday afternoon.
James P. Berry, of the 300 block of Wayland Road, stands charged with felony possession with intent to distribute more than five pounds of marijuana and manufacturing marijuana not for personal use.
Acting on a tip provided to police in June about a possible large-scale indoor marijuana "grow" operation on Wayland Road, the joint Street Crimes Unit comprised of town police and Culpeper County Sheriff's deputies executed a search warrant on the residence and found the alleged marijuana operation in the single-story home.
When detectives initially arrived, they could smell the odor of "green" marijuana that became stronger as they approached the house, police said. The officers then secured a search warrant for the residence.
The home had a trap door leading from the main house to the basement. All the basement windows and door had been barricaded, police said.
"The basement was sectioned off with three indoor grow tents and two rooms contained hydroponics equipment," said Lt. Tim Chilton. "Over 100 mature plants were found as well as approximately 20 pounds of dried marijuana."
Officials called the equipment used to grow and nourish the alleged marijuana plants elaborate and expensive.
Two rooms on the main floor of the home were allegedly used to dry the harvested plants.
Chilton estimated that the street value of the marijuana at about $300,000.
Besides the marijuana, police seized more than $1,500 in cash, an electric generator and wise-screen plasma TV.
"This is the largest marijuana grow operation we have had in Culpeper," said Police Chief Chris Jenkins. "This operation shows the value of the joint Street Crimes Unit and how it can effectively fight crime."
The investigation is continuing.
Anyone with information about this case may contact Lt. Chilton at 540-937-0403.