Standing next to a table loaded with about nine pounds of marijuana in paper bags harvested from the more than 7-foot-tall marijuana plants behind him, Maj. Bill Berry, of the Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit talks at a news conference about the arrest of two men on drug charges. The table also holds fertilizer, marijuana seeds, joints, a book on growing marijuana and other related objects.
ALBANY, Ga. — Two marijuana cultivators walked out of a patch carrying fresh-cut product into the sight of Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit agents at about 11:30 a.m. Monday, said the unit’s Maj. Bill Berry.
Edward Bryant Conner, 51, of Dougherty County and Levi Daniel Leeson, 29, of Mitchell County are being held in the Dougherty County Jail without bond, said the jail’s automated information system.
“They are charged with possession of marijuana with intention to distribute,” said Berry, “and with manufacturing marijuana.”
Agents confiscated about 9 pounds of marijuana and 16 plants taller than 7 feet, Berry said. In addition to the fresh-cut marijuana, the drug unit displayed marijuana seed packs and batches of marijuana in glass jars at about 2 p.m. Tuesday at the unit’s headquarters.
According to the website priceofweed.com, medium-quality marijuana can be bought for an average price of $173 an ounce in Georgia. Nine pounds could fetch about $25,000.
One oddity turned up during a search of Conner’s home after the arrests at the grow patch, Berry said. A two-liter Diet Coke bottle and a Nantze Springs gallon bottle were found in the freezer. Full, they had marijuana leaves and a liquid frozen in them.
“I’ve never seen that before,” Berry said. “I don’t know if it is some way they have of extricating the THC and making hash. We are sending it off to the crime laboratory.”
Manufacturing marijuana typically means growing the plants, which contain THC, the active intoxicant chemical. According to Berry, the drug agents got a call that there was marijuana growing along the 5400 block of Newton Road outside Albany.
“We had info there was a grow in the area. We were patrolling the area,” Berry said. “It turned out to be good timing ... for us. We saw them coming out of a field with freshly cut plants. They had those large black 30-gallon trash bags filled. They just reeked of (the smell of cut marijuana plants.)”
According to Berry, the two men tried to drive away from the wooded area in a white 1999 Ford F-150 pickup when they were spotted. They were easily apprehended with the pungent cut plants sitting in the pickup’s bed.
Using the stop as probable cause, agents obtained a search warrant for Conner’s home at 3825 Shade Ave. In Conner’s home agents reported finding the seed packs with labels such as “White Widow,” “60-Day Wonder” and others that corresponded to marijuana labels on bottles with product names such as “Bobbie” and “Brownie.”
Also confiscated at Conner’s house were various plant foods probably intended to help marijuana thrive in Southwest Georgia soil. The names of the plant foods, such as “Tiger Bloom,” along with label artwork that harkens back to the Summer of Love in 1967 hint that they weren’t intended for azaleas or decorative plants.
Another clue as to the intention of the men arrested was a confiscated Bible. Not traditional, it was “Marijuana Horticulture: The Indoor/Outdoor Medical Grower’s Bible.”
“This wasn’t for personal consumption,” Berry said. “They were growing to sell.”