Janesville72°

Marijuana operation could be largest in city history

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Shelly Birkelo
Ted Sullivan
January 7, 2010
— Janesville police expected to find evidence of drug dealing when they searched an east side home Tuesday, but what they discovered was perhaps the largest marijuana growing operation in the city’s history.

Inside, three basement rooms were full of marijuana plants. Large artificial lights with timers shined on the crop. Reflective sheets hung on the walls.


Laundry lines with clothespins were strung upstairs to dry plants. An exhaust system was used to air fumes. Packaging materials were abundant.


In all, 147 plants were seized, totaling more than 72 pounds of marijuana. It could have been a cash crop, harvested every few months. Marijuana would have been sold to area dealers, who would have resold it on the streets.


The operation was big enough it could have become the city’s first, large homegrown supplier. Typically, drugs in Rock County come from the Chicago, to Rockford, Ill., to Beloit pipeline.


“We had no idea how extensive it would be,” Sgt. Jim Holford said. “This is one of the larger, if not the largest, growing operations in the city of Janesville.”


Rashann M. Henderson, 30, and Andrea R. Meyer, 25, are suspected of growing the drugs in their home at 2507 Black Bridge Road.


Henderson was arrested on charges of manufacture or delivery of marijuana, maintaining a drug trafficking place, felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.


Meyer was arrested on charges of manufacture or delivery of marijuana, maintaining a drug trafficking place and possession of drug paraphernalia.


Henderson and Meyer appeared in Rock County Court on Wednesday. Henderson was ordered held in the Rock County Jail on $28,000 bond, and Meyer was ordered held on $2,100 bond.


Police knew for a while of a possible growing operation in the area, but they didn’t have a specific address, Holford said.


Investigators received tips of suspicious behavior and increased traffic in and out of the house, Holford said. Eventually, police had enough information for a search warrant.


Police raided the home at 6 p.m. The marijuana they found ranged from 2-inch seedlings to 54-inch plants. Their street value was $75,000.


Police also found packaged cocaine, a 9mm pistol, a scale, a marijuana-smoking pipe attached to a gas mask, fertilizer and $248 cash. A plastic container labeled “Halloween” held fans, soil, a thermostat and timer.


The bust is expected to significantly reduce the amount of marijuana available on the streets, Holford said.


“It’s hard to quantify percentage wise, but 72 pounds of marijuana off the street is a significant amount, especially when it’s sold in grams,” Holford said.



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