Charges escalate for man busted with pot plant

Charges escalate for man busted with pot plant

Arrest, investigation lead to theft, additional drug charges

A Proctor man who was recently arrested for growing an eight foot pot plant in his backyard is now facing theft charges after authorities recovered a firearm which had been reported stolen in Mississippi and water meters which were taken in Crawfordsville.

Mason Ross, 20, of 431 Peg Leg Lane, was re-arrested on September 6 by Crittenden County Sheriff’s Department and charged with two counts of theft by receiving for the gun and water meters, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Ross had been arrested on Labor Day and charged with manufacturing a controlled substance after Sheriff’s deputies discovered an eight foot marijuana plant growing at his residence at Peg Leg Lane.

He was also charged with fleeing from authorities.

Ross had already been released from the county jail and bonded out on a $7,500 bond.

Chief Todd Grooms of the Crittenden County Sheriff’s Department said investigators received an anonymous tip about the marijuana plant, but during the course of their investigation also found parts from water meters that had been taken from a storage room in Crawfordsville in the back yard.

“The pot plant was in plain sight,” Grooms said. “It was growing over the top of a six door privacy fence.

So we could at that point enter the property. When we did, on the ground was a pile of plastic parts from water meters and a couple whole meters were laying there. They were identified as ones stolen from Crawfordsville.”

Grooms said investigators then obtained a warrant to search the residence and once inside discovered buckets of brass parts that had come off of the water meters.

“We found about four fivegallon buckets of water meter parts inside the house,” Grooms said. “He was scrapping the brass on them. They were just stacked up everywhere inside. He has confessed that he is the one who stole them.”

Grooms said the case took several more interesting turns. Investigators also found a 410 shotgun that had been stolen in Mississippi, drug paraphernalia (scales, pipes, and packing material), and a sheriff’s badge from Benton County, Arkansas along with a set of visor mounted police blue lights.

“ I contacted Benton County and they haven’t located any records that say the badge was stolen,” Grooms said. “But they told me the badge hasn’t been used since the 1980s.”

Grooms said the case sparked a lot of conversation with some questioning why they arrested someone for growing one marijuana plant.

But according to Grooms, marijuana is not only a gateway drug, it is also a gateway to other criminal activity.

“People were saying ‘don’t you have anything better to do than arrest someone for one pot plant?’” Grooms said. “But I tell them to stop for a minute and think like police. We recovered what the public thinks is an insignificant marijuana plant. But it led to other stolen property.

So we basically closed out two other cases.”

By Mark Randall