published Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Rossville house raided, 200 marijuana plants seized

A home at 241 Longview Dr. in Rossville, Ga. was raided by the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force Monday where an estimated $250,000 worth of marijuana plants were found.
A home at 241 Longview Dr. in Rossville, Ga. was raided by the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force Monday where an estimated $250,000 worth of marijuana plants were found.
Photo by Doug Strickland /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
  • photo
    Marijuana buds sit on a coffee table in a home at 241 Longview Dr. in Rossville, Ga. The home was raided by the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force Monday where an estimated $250,000 worth of marijuana plants were found.
    Photo by Doug Strickland.
    enlarge photo

Three men were arrested on Monday, accused of turning a Rossville house into a quarter-million dollar marijuana operation.

Lookout Mountain Drug Task Force agents raided the home off Longview Drive and found more than 200 plants of all sizes, from seedling to processed marijuana ready for sale, officials said.

"Its been one of the biggest indoor operations in this decade [in the county]," said Drug Task Force Interim Commander Patrick Doyle.

As part of the investigation, Benjamin Valdes, 30; Juan Valladares, 30; and Felix Valdes Jr., 32, were arrested, said Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson.

All three men face charges of possession of marijuana and possession with intent to distribute, Wilson said.

Authorities believe the men had been growing marijuana inside the house for about a year, Doyle said.

Benjamin Valdes had been investigated months ago, but had left the county and gone to Florida, Doyle said. When agents learned he was back in Walker County, they began another investigation, he said.

When authorities tried to serve an arrest warrant on Benjamin Valdes on Monday, he tried to run, but he was caught and arrested along with Valladares and Felix Valdes, Doyle said.

The investigation is ongoing.

Contact staff writer Joy Lukachick at jlukachick@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6659.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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