Deputy finds hydroponic pot

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, April 9, 2016
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Unexpected Find

UNEXPECTED FIND – A Wise County deputy discovered marijuana growing inside a metal building while responding to an unrelated call last weekend. Investigators seized 521 plants. Submitted photo

An officer trying to find a possible domestic disturbance last weekend instead discovered a rather unique marijuana grow.

Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said dispatchers received a 911 call around 4 p.m. Saturday, April 2, from a woman who said she was involved in a disturbance with her male partner. The caller hung up, and the dispatcher called her back and could hear her crying.

Because dispatchers had not yet been able to get an address, they “pinged” the cell phone to try to find an approximate location.

A deputy was sent to a home in the 300 block of Hidden Meadow Court near New Fairview in an attempt to find the woman. After knocking on the door, he heard a noise in a metal building on the property and went to investigate.

“The door came open, and he saw hundreds of marijuana plants growing in a heavily lit area,” Akin said.

The deputy backed out and obtained a search warrant for the structure.

Officers then went in and discovered more than 500 marijuana plants growing hydroponically, a way of growing plants in water without soil.

Akin said his officers were assisted by an investigator with the Texas Department of Public Safety who called the setup, “one of the most sophisticated hydroponic grows he had seen.”

Ronald Gene Fergason

In total, officers seized 521 plants.

Akin said the size of the setup indicated it was likely more than just for personal use.

Ronald Gene Fergason, 42, was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana 5 to 50 pounds, a third degree felony.

As for the original domestic disturbance call, Akin said officers did not locate the caller, and it was later determined that the call came from a home in Denton County.

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