Confiscated Plants

These marijuana plants were hung out to dry at the Franklin County Narcotics office Tuesday following a drug bust in Union Monday. Pictured is Franklin County Task Force officer Nathan Pinter handling some of the plants seized Monday at a Union area home. Authorities said the growing operation was sophisticated and plants had been grown at the house for several years.  

A Union area man and woman were arrested Monday after police found about 100 marijuana plants inside their Prairie Dell Road home.

There were 62 plants growing in the basement of the home located in the 2200 block of North Prairie Dell Road north of Wal-Mart just outside of the city limits, according to Cpl. Scott Briggs with the Franklin County Narcotics Enforcement Unit (FCNEU).

There was an additional 30-40 plant that already had been harvested, Briggs told The Missourian.

A 55-year-old man and a 51-year-old woman were taken into custody at 3 p.m. after information led authorities to the home. The suspects were released pending lab results

According to Briggs, FCNEU officers could smell the odor of marijuana while on the front porch of the home and they were given consent to search the home.

“The plants were in various stages of growth,” said Briggs. “We had starter plants, we had medium-sized plants and plants that were ready to harvest.”

He explained that the plants were grown through a hydroponic process — utilizing nutrient enriched water — instead of dirt.

Briggs said authorities confiscated all of the lights and apparatus used to grow the plants.

“It was a sophisticated set up,” he said. “Normally we only see one hydroponics sections — this had three.”

He added that there was a system that used outside air to ventilate the growing area.

“This has been going on for years, not months,” Briggs said.

When grown inside using the hydroponics method, plants receive more light than when grown outdoors.

You are able to control the environment and speed up the process,” Briggs said. “It tricks plants into growing quicker — basically there was no nighttime.”