Marijuana Plants Found on Frontier Culture Museum Grounds
The Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton is known for planting seeds in young minds. But on a remote part of its property, police found a very different kind of planting: marijuana. Now two neighbors of the museum face drug charges.
Two men were arrested on felony drug charges last week after the discovery of large marijuana plants on an unused portion of the state-owned property. The case made unlikely partners of the frontier museum director, and police investigators.
Every day visitors to the Frontier Culture Museum watch and help costumed interpreters work the land. But on an unused corner of the museum's 300 acres, a couple of rogue farmers allegedly cultivated some illicit crops.
Frontier Culture Museum Director John Avoli said, "State police called me, informing us that there were marijuana plants discovered. And I said, ‘oh my goodness.' So it was quite shocking, absolutely."
A pair of bow hunters found the plants in a wetlands area, shrouded by trees near Interstate 81.
D.E. Tyree of the Virginia State Police Department stated, "That land was so isolated, we figured somebody that had to live close there, or worked for the Frontier Culture Museum. And just through investigation and getting lucky on tips, we found out who the guys were."
Police say they were 25-year-old Matthew Meissinger and 24-year-old Harold Morris, III. They are both from Maryland, but employed by a local contractor.
Tyree stated, "They were doing work and they decided to veer off on the wrong path and do other things."
Police say a search of their home, at nearby Augusta Woods, revealed more plants, drug paraphernalia, and the start of a hallucinogenic mushroom operation; but the most impressive find was the original crop.
"Nine plants, but a special agent (who) has been doing for 10 years claims that was the biggest plants he'd seen outside growing," Tyree said.
The Frontier Culture Museum director says he is just glad police found and removed them.
"We cooperated fully with them, and we're glad the issue is finally resolved and hopefully it doesn't happen again." Avoli stated.
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