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Police bust marijuana growing operations, find 450 plants

Monday, March 9, 2009 | 10:53 p.m. CDT; updated 1:23 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, March 10, 2009

COLUMBIA — On Monday afternoon, the Columbia Police Department searched two Columbia homes and found marijuana-growing systems and approximately 450 live plants, according to a news release from the Columbia Police Department. Two men were arrested in connection with the searches.

The searches resulted from an investigation into indoor marijuana-growing operations and were executed by members of the police department and the Mid-Missouri Unified Strike Team and Narcotics Drug Group Drug Task Force, according to the release. The search warrants were obtained by narcotics officers.

At 2:05 p.m. Monday, officers served a search warrant at 3903 Mamba Dr. A woman was at the residence at the time. Officers found a growing system in the house, including a ventilation and hydration system, the release said. The approximately 150 live marijuana plants were growing in two separate rooms, which were hidden behind false walls.

According to the release, police also recovered more than 35 grams of processed marijuana, numerous items of drug paraphernalia, $1000 cash and numerous items used to grow marijuana, including lights, fans, electrical sources, fertilizer, chemicals, tubing, potting material and water filtration systems.

Anthony L. Phillips, 39, arrived at the residence while police were conducting the search. He was later arrested on suspicion of manufacturing a controlled substance, felony possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, the release said. The woman at the residence was released at the scene pending further investigation.

At 2:08 p.m. Monday, officers served a search warrant at 3800 Snow Leopard Dr. A man and a woman were home at the time. In the search, officers found approximately 300 marijuana plants growing in two locations in the house; those were also concealed behind false walls, according to the release. The elaborate operation was similar to that found at the residence on Mamba Drive, according to the release.

In addition to the plants, officers found less than 35 grams of processed marijuana, numerous items of drug paraphernalia, a .44 caliber handgun and numerous items related to the grow operation, including lights, fans, electrical sources, fertilizer, chemicals, tubing, potting material and water filtration systems.

Steven T. Maurer, 34, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of manufacturing a controlled substance, misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, the release said. The woman was released pending further investigation.

Officers believe the operations at the two houses were related, though the investigation into the exact nature of the relationship is ongoing, according to the release.

Anyone with information can call CrimeStoppers at 875-TIPS or can go to 875tips.com. Tips can be left anonymously and anyone giving information leading to an arrest may be eligible for a reward of up to $1500.


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