Sheriff: Marijuana grow house 'armed to the teeth' - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Sheriff: Marijuana grow house 'armed to the teeth'

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George Daniel Trae Gardner (Source: Marion County Sheriff's Office) George Daniel Trae Gardner (Source: Marion County Sheriff's Office)
Source: Marion County Sheriff's Office Source: Marion County Sheriff's Office

MARION COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Dozens of "high grade" marijuana plants and firearms were seized from a home in Marion County that Sheriff Mark Richardson says was "armed to the teeth."

The search warrant for the home of George Daniel Trae Gardner on Highway 501 in Marion was executed on Friday, Feb. 22 by the Marion County Combined Drug Unit.

What they found was over 35 "high grade" marijuana plants growing inside Gardner's home and seven firearms including a fully loaded assault rifle.

Sheriff Mark Richardson stated, "The discovery of a cache of weapons, including an assault rifle, inside of an illegal drug operation causes grave concern for officer safety and I am glad none of my Officers were injured."

Marion County Combined Drug Unit Director Major Brian Wallace said the lab was a sophisticated one.

"You have your CO2 cartridges, which is pumping CO2 into the plants. You have your marijuana grow light, you have a heater, you have a thermometer to regulate the temperature and you also have a ventilation system which is pulling air from outside the system," Major Wallace said.

Wallace said the indoor labs are becoming a trend across the nation.

"Even though they move these labs indoors, we have the means and capability to find them and arrest them and prosecute them to the full extent," Wallace said.

Wallace said it was with the help of the community, that the Marion County Combined Drug Unit found the marijuana plants.

"Most of our information comes from the citizens in the community, who wants this type of activity off the streets. And, they hear about it and they report it to us and we act on it," Wallace said.

Gardner was arrested and charged with manufacturing marijuana. He was released from the Marion County Detention Center with a $25,000 surety bond.

"This investigation is on-going and more arrests could follow," Sheriff Richardson explains.

Copyright 2013 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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