by: Tony Thomas Updated:
NORCROSS - The Georgia Bureau of Investigations will soon begin trying to trace the origins of 318 marijuana plants seized in a Norcross grow house.
Channel 2's Tony Thomas was the first to arrive on the scene of the police action Thursday night. Police were going room by room in the small brick ranch house on Beaver Ruin Road, picking up 318 marijuana plants growing in pots. Some were very small and others were 6 feet tall and still growing.
Detectives said five rooms in the house were packed with sophisticated lights, a ventilation system and harvesting area.
"We are looking at street value at somewhere between $400,000 and a half million dollars," said Norcross police Lt. Bill Grogan.
Detectives spent Friday afternoon unloading the haul at a secure warehouse. The plants will likely soon be destroyed after portions are saved for testing and any upcoming trials.
Police arrested two people who were inside the home. Luong Tien Do and his mother, Gai Thi Do are both charged with possession of marijuana. Tien Do also has an immigration hold placed on him.
Neighbors said the two moved into the house about six months ago. One neighbor told Thomas she never noticed any activity at the house except on Sunday mornings when five to 15 cars would always pull up.
"So I thought maybe a church had bought the land, but I never saw anyone over there," said a neighbor who only identified herself as Nancy.
Nancy said what she did notice all the time was the lights that always seemed to be left on.
"It never mattered how late at night or how early in the morning, the lights were always on in the house," she said.
Police now believe Sunday was delivery day for the grow house operation. It's an illegal operation officers literally sniffed their way to after Nancy called in what she thought was a burglary at the house next door. Police found no evidence of a crime there, but began to smell the marijuana and followed their noses to the Do's front door.
Police said they considered getting a search warrant, but instead just went and knocked on the front door. Mr. Do answered and said they could see and smell all they needed to enter the house and seize the plants.
"It's easy to hide. What we need are diligent citizens like the call we got yesterday," Grogan said.
Investigators told Thomas they believe the Do's were selling the harvested plants to others who were the actual packagers and street-level sellers.
Both were due in Gwinnett County Magistrate Court Saturday for their first appearance before a judge.