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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
March 20, 2003

Arrest Leads to Unexpected Marijuana Seizure in Clark County, Kentucky

MarijuanaClark County, KY- On February 14, 2003, members of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Clark County Sheriff's Department went to a local residence in Clark County to arrest Deborah Free on an arrest warrant issued in North Carolina, but they got more than they expected.

As the officers made contact with the residents of the home, Jerry and Deborah Free, they smelled a very strong odor of marijuana. Agents received consent to search the residence and discovered a large and sophisticated indoor marijuana growing operation in the basement of the home. DEA and Clark County Sheriffs personnel seized a total of 249 mature marijuana plants that were capable of producing a large quantity of finished product. Both Jerry and Deborah Free were immediately arrested. The in-door grow had apparently been in operation for some time and had a complete ventilation system.

Marijuana plants.Jerry and Deborah Free face federal drug charges of manufacturing marijuana, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug crime. Deborah Free also faces the additional charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The Clark County Sheriffs Department has also brought local drug charges against the pair.

"You never know what you'll find when you're working in the law enforcement business, but this was certainly a surprise to find a marijuana operation of this size located in a basement," said Harvey Goehring, Resident Agent in Charge of the DEA Lexington Office.

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