Jeffery Dale Stallings initially couldn't hear narcotics agents pounding on the door of a shed in the backyard of his Lyerly, Ga., home.
That's because Stallings was underneath the shed in an underground marijuana grow room watching cable TV, according to police.
"He couldn't hear us," said Officer Trey Skelton with the Chattooga County Narcotics Unit. "He was watching TV when we got there."
Narcotics agents finally got Stallings' attention and on June 21 arrested the 51-year-old man along with his girlfriend, Regina Luann Gresham, 47. Stallings' brother, Steven Markly Stallings, 53, was arrested the next day.
The three, who shared a home at 144 Mill Village Road, are in the county jail in Summerville awaiting a court hearing date, jail records show. Narcotics agents cited them each with four felony drug charges related to growing marijuana with intent to sell and a misdemeanor count of possessing drug-related objects.
Along with cable TV, the underground grow room had water and electricity and finished walls. The grow light moved along a track to simulate the sun rising in the east and setting in the west, Skelton said.
"There were 93 really good, healthy plants," Skelton said.
A marijuana plant grown indoors typically produces two pounds of smokeable product, he said, compared with one pound per outdoor plant.
The brothers, who inherited the house from their late mother, built the shed so they could excavate the grow room bucket by bucket without neighbors noticing, Skelton said.
He said construction of the underground room began in late 2010 or 2011 and took about six months.
The underground grow room produced marijuana all year long, Skelton said.
Though officers caught Jeffery in the grow room, his older brother tried to shoulder all the blame.
"Steve tried to claim it was all his," Skelton said. "He's got a long rap sheet."
He added, "Everybody in the house knew it was going on."
Tim Omarzu covers Catoosa and Walker counties for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California. Stories he's covered include crime in blighted parts of metro Detroit and Reno, Nev.; environmental activists tree-sitting in California's Sierra Nevada foothills; attempts by the Michigan Militia to take over a township¹s government in northern Michigan. A native of Michigan, ...