CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. - A drug task force raided an upscale home on Gold Mill Ridge Friday in Canton, discovering more than 100 pounds of marijuana. A knock on the door unexpectedly led investigators to the drugs.
“This is not a mom and pop operation. This is a very sophisticated operation," Cmdr. Phil Price with Cherokee Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad told Channel 2 Action News.
Carlos Suarez-Diaz was arrested in the bust.
Channel 2's Michael Seiden spoke with Sgt. Marianne Kelley, who is the spokesperson for the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office. Kelley said her deputies went to the half-million-dollar home to arrest a suspect wanted in an unrelated matter, but as soon as Suarez-Diaz saw detectives, he took off running down the street.
He was ultimately captured and taken to jail where he remains without bond. He was charged with trafficking marijuana, possession and manufacturing marijuana, obstruction of an officer, and escape.
It all unfolded in front of multiple families, and the alleged operation left neighbors stunned.
“Aw man! Skunk weed. You could smell it all the way across the street,” concerned neighbor J.J. McGovern said.
The Cherokee Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad said there were approximately 287 plants found with a street value of $1,287,000.
Investigators said they saw expensive equipment throughout the basement where Suarez-Diaz had been growing his product.
"We believe, based on what we see here, that the marijuana's being shipped out of state," Price said.
"It's very upsetting, but I guess it just means it can happen anywhere," neighbor Kristin Brown said.
McGovern said he once tried to lend his neighbor a helping hand.
"I did talk to [the] guy about mowing his grass and let him use my lawn mower. He said, 'That's okay. I'm cool.' Now I know why. I guess he wasn't cutting the grass, he was growing the grass," McGovern said.
Investigators said they also found guns in the home.
Channel 2 Action News looked into Suarez-Diaz's background and according to records, he has bounced around from Puerto Rico to California to Georgia, where he was renting the home.
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