Large indoor marijuana grow operation found in Hamblen County

"Historic" indoor marijuana grow operation found in Hamblen County

Posted:
Approximately 150 marijuana plants were found at home in a Hamblen County subdivision. Approximately 150 marijuana plants were found at home in a Hamblen County subdivision.
Keith Aaron Maewether (source: Hamblen County Sheriff's Office) Keith Aaron Maewether (source: Hamblen County Sheriff's Office)

By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

MORRISTOWN (WATE) – Narcotics officers carried out plant, after plant in what they're calling an historic marijuana bust in Hamblen County.

Authorities arrested Keith Aaron Maewether, 32, after a concerned citizen tipped them off.

"We were amazed at what we discovered," said Hamblen County Sheriff Esco Jarnigan.

Jarnigan says they obtained a search warrant for the Brockwood Drive home and discovered more than 150 marijuana plants as well as our gallons of marijuana "butter" which is generally used in making marijuana brownies and cookies.

It's an operation unlike anything Sheriff Jarnigan has ever seen.

"It's the most elaborate growth I've seen in Hamblen history," he explained.

Each plant was categorized and labeled. The sheriff says this was an operation reaching far beyond Hamblen County.

"It appears a lot of this stuff has been shipped across state lines," he said.

But across the street neighbor Leon Thompson says he had no idea.

"I came home from work and saw all the cars and was like what the heck? Total disbelief," said Thompson who has lived across the street from Maewether for three years.

The smell while we were there was incredibly strong but Thompson said they never noticed anything out of the ordinary.

"He was always friendly to me and my family, would have never dreamt anything like this was happening," Thompson said.

But another neighbor did notice and asked the sheriff to look into it.

"Many of the neighbors knew something was going on, but they didn't know what," Sheriff Jarnigan said.

They arrested Maewether without incident but officers say he had been at this for some time.

"It was very sophisticated, lot of material, books on top of books on how to do different things," he said.

Sheriff Jarnigan says he doesn't know the total amount they stopped from hitting the streets but says its hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

"One plant would be about $1,600 to $1,800," he explained. "The quantity is incredible."

Sheriff Jarnigan said other arrests could come from the investigation. Federal charges are pending against Maewether as the investigation is ongoing.

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