A Columbus man who was found with 84 marijuana plants at his 7 Leah Court home Friday said he has been growing marijuana for about four months to make cannabis oil for cancer patients.
Robert H. Jones, 69, and his wife, Mikelle D. Jones, 60, both pleaded not guilty to one count each of manufacturing marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of drug related objects during a 2 p.m. Tuesday Recorder’s Court hearing. Judge Julius Hunter set bonds totaling $20,250 for the woman but ordered the man held without bond on charges and bound them over to Muscogee Superior Court.
Alex Berinobis, an agent with the Metro Narcotics Task Force, said a warrant was based on an anonymous tip about marijuana at the house. The woman was found alone at the house and the man was found at the Waffle House restaurant. The couple were arrested about 3 p.m. after agents found 84 plants during the execution of a search warrant. Police also found 5.6 pounds of processed marijuana and assorted drug objects to grow marijuana. Total street value of the plants and processed marijuana was estimated at $1.7 million.
Adult plants were found in a garage with a steel door. It was equipped with grow lights and ballasts. It also had a temperature control system for the building.
The couple were represented by defense attorney Mike Garner who questioned the agent’s value of each plants at $20,000 each. Agents found seedlings 2 inch seedlings to plants 3 feet tall. Berinobis said the estimate is based yield of the plant.
Garner said Jones wasn’t running some multi-million dollar drug operation. Police seized a car but no money. “If he’s running a multi-million dollar operation, how does he wind up with no money,” he asked?
During an interview with police, Robert Jones said he had grown marijuana for two years to pay for his house.
In court, the suspect said he had been growing pot about four months to make oil for cancer patients. He would make arrangements with a third party to get them the oil. “I didn’t sell it,” he told the court.
Matt Brown, a solicitor for the District Attorney’s Office, said Robert Jones admitted to manufacturing and distributing marijuana.
Garner said Robert Jones has no record and there is no evidence Mikelle Jones took part in marijuana growing. He requested a reasonable bond for each suspect.
By: Ben Wright, Ledger -Enquirer