6/12/2013 6:00:00 AM Pot seized in 'high-tech' operation
Sheriff’s deputies seized 191 marijuana plants from a highly sophisticated operation in a house at North Bend Monday morning. Two brothers were charged in connection with the case. About $1,000 were seized in the arrest at North Bend. From left are Deputies Derick Wyatt and David Tucker, Sheriff Tommy Waddell and Deputy Jessie Hamilton.
Two men were arrested Sunday night on felony drug charges after deputies searched a house in the North Bend community and found "one of the most highly sophisticated" drug operations the Sheriff said he had seen in his 30 years in law enforcement.
Seized in the arrests were 191 marijuana plants, some as tall as eight feet, and $1,000 in cash.
The arrests stemmed from a call made to 911 by an unidentified female who told a telecommunicator that she had locked herself in the basement of a house at 15261 Highway 21 north for protection.
Yosmel Leyva-Diaz, 27, and his twin brother, Yosel Leyva -Diaz, 27, were each charged with manufacturing marijuana and possession of over a kilo of marijuana with intent to distribute.
Their driver's licenses listed their address as 4232 Highway 35 north, Forest.
However, Yosel Leyva-Diaz purchased the house on Mississippi 21 north about a year ago, Sheriff Tommy Waddell said.
Investigator Grant Myers said the brothers came to the United States from Cuba in 2002.
"They came to Mississippi about four years ago from Miami," he said.
Sheriff's deputies responded to the residence about 10:17 p.m. Sunday night, expecting a domestic violence case.
While inquiring about the female, the deputies discovered the marijuana plants inside the house and called in the Sheriff and investigators.
"There was no female present in the house," Waddell said, noting that the woman's identity remains unknown.
Officers found the marijuana plants growing in 20-gallon tubs and five-gallon pots in multiple rooms in the basement and in an upstairs bedroom.
The highly sophisticated operation included high tech lighting, a separate electrical control panel, central air units, a watering system that utilized condensation from the air units along with ventilation and exhaust systems. A carbon monoxide tank was hooked to each air unit.
"All the air condition units were on thermostats and the lighting was on timers," Myers said.
Waddell said the plants ranged in height from 4 to 8 feet.
"They had been pruned so they had bushed out," he said. "In my 30 years of law enforcement, I've never seen this type of operation. The lighting system alone would cost over $10,000."
The marijuana was valued at about $1,800 a pound.
"We estimate they could have produced anywhere from 50 to 100 pounds," Myers said.
Sheriff Waddell said deputies found evidence that the two were in the process of converting another room in the house to grow additional plants.
"We don't believe they planned to sell the marijuana here," Waddell said, "because of the high tech operation and as much work, time and money they spent growing it. I don't think they would take a chance on selling small amounts here."
Waddell said it was not uncommon for people to go into a rural county, buy a house and convert it into a "grow house" for marijuana.
"They buy the house for that purpose and then ship the marijuana to a larger city," he said.
He commended his deputies for being observant when they initially arrived at the house.
"They did exactly what they were supposed to do," he said.
"They secured the scene. They did an outstanding job," the Sheriff said.