published Monday, December 30th, 2013

4 arrested in Alabama marijuana growing operations

CULLMAN, Ala. — Cullman County sheriff's officials say the leader of an organization pushing for statewide marijuana legalization was one of four accused in a drug trafficking operation.

Sheriff Mike Rainey says 44-year-old Christopher Lee Butts, co-president of the Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition, is among those accused of growing more than 30 marijuana plants at a house in Cullman.

Authorities say 22-year-old Stephen Franks, 46-year-old Sonja Franks, and 22-year-old Amber Nixon, were arrested along with Butts on drug trafficking charges over the weekend.

Rainey says the arrests stemmed from deputies responding to a tip that prompted a child welfare check. The boy was turned over to the state Department of Human Resources and Rainey says he'll likely stay with relatives.

It's unclear if the four have attorneys.

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