ALBANY — Thanks to an anonymous tip late Wednesday night, officers with the Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit (ADDU) were able to discover and raid what officials described as a marijuana growing operation in East Albany, which led to the arrest of Tracy Roberts.

Early Thursday morning ADDU officers executed a search warrant at 3415 Sylvester Road, where they uncovered what is being called a “significant” growing operation, consisting of several plants and at least $20,000 worth of growing equipment.

“We have a total of 289 plants and we value that at about $1,000 a plant,” ADDU Lt. George Camp said. “Each plant can produce up to a pound so you’re looking at the street value being $289,000.”

Camp said the bust came about when an anonymous call was placed to the Dougherty County Police Department about a suspicious van parked at the house.

“They thought that the house was vacant and were kind of concerned that the van was coming the back way in instead of coming through Sylvester Road, so they called the DCP,” Camp said.

DCP officers arriving at the scene also were suspicious of the van since they thought the house was vacant. They approached the house and immediately noticed the distinct odor of marijuana, Camp said.

Suspecting the house might be a grow house, DCP officers then contacted the ADDU for assistance.

“I go up there and I get that smell and I said, ‘We’ve got weed in there,’” said Camp. “Now, grow house or not, we’ve got some weed in there. So we go checking around the house again.”

While checking the perimeter of the house, Camp said, he made contact with Roberts through a window and told him to come to the side door. Once at the side door, ADDU officers then instructed Roberts to let them in the house, Camp said.

The man refused to let the officers in without a warrant, so Camp said one was obtained.

“Based on odor alone we can take a search warrant,” said Camp.

Camp said that although there have been larger growing operations in Albany in the past, this operation was fairly sophisticated.

“It was a pretty elaborate grow for the size that it is,” said Camp. “This is significant for a town like Albany.”

Roberts, who Camp said is about 44 years old, was charged with manufacturing of marijuana, trafficking in marijuana, and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

“There’s still other charges pending and it’s still an ongoing investigation,” said Camp.

Asked what kind of impact the bust would have on the drug trade in Albany, Camp said that it would be minimal, but would make a difference.

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With The Albany Herald since 2013, I am the paper's Digital Editor responsible for managing our web content and social media presence. Additionally I cover Lee County and handle business news, entertainment news, general news assignments and features.

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