Marijuana operation busted in Simpsonville, investigators say

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SIMPSONVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- The Greenville County Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit has broken up a two-state marijunana growing operation, according to a release from the DEU.

Authorities raided two residences on Tuesday, one in the Briar Oaks neighborhood of Simpsonville and the other in Roanoke, Virginia.

Investigators said they began looking into the issue a few months ago after receiving a tip. Between the locations in Simpsonville and Roanoke, the plants found would have generated at least $150,000 in profit, according to the release. Investigators said they believe the growing operation had been underway for months.

Frank Nathe, who lives in Briar Oaks, said he saw the raid Tuesday.

“We knew that something was serious because about 18 cops undercover got out of the cars, and a couple had kevlar vests on,” Nathe said. “They had a battering ram.”

Investigators said they found a marijuana growing operation, a few pounds of processed marijuana, edibles, several guns, and $3,750 cash. Lindsay Austin, 29, was arrested and charged with manufacturing marijuana.

“It’s a significant grow operation that was operating in both states of Viriginia and in the area of Greenville county,” said Commander Bart McEntire with the DEU.

Greenville County authorities helped their counterparts in Virginia find a second residence in Roanoke, where they say they found 139 marijuana plants and several pounds of processed marijuana. According to the release,authorities believe they know who is running this operation, but they aren’t releasing that name. They expect that suspect to turn himself in next week.

“I believe this individual was manufacturing a large quantity of marijuana that he was transporting between the two states,” McEntire said. “He was then distributing those quantities of marijuana within the communities.”

Several Briar Oaks residents told 7News they were shocked this happened in their neighborhood, but one said having marijuana nearby doesn’t bother him that much.

Austin is out of jail, but declined to comment Friday.

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