• Police: $35M worth of pot, other illegal drugs found in 'elaborate' grow houses

    By: Dave Huddleston

    Updated:

    GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - Channel 2 Action News has learned of a major drug bust where approximately $35 million in marijuana and other illegal drugs were seized, making the operation one of the biggest drug trafficking cases in metro Atlanta.

    [PHOTOS: Illegal drugs, guns and cash seized in major drug trafficking operation]

    Officials with the Gwinnett County Police Department told Channel 2's Dave Huddleston they received information in mid-October that started a criminal investigation into several grow houses in Gwinnett, Henry and Clayton counties.

    Within the last week, officials said they located five grow houses with "elaborate" setups.

    More than 1,500 marijuana plants were seized.

    Police said rooms were converted to growing and manufacturing marijuana, making the homes unlivable -- and neighbors probably didn't know what was going on just a few houses away.


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    In all, 16 people from Gwinnett County were arrested, and police said more arrests could be made, as the investigation is ongoing.

    [PHOTOS: 16 arrested in one of metro Atlanta's biggest drug trafficking operations]

    Huddleston got exclusive access to the evidence. Police also confiscated 22 guns, six cars and $676,000 in cash.

    "Not only is this making an impact on Gwinnett County but the metro area and the entire Southeast of the United States," Cpl. Michele Pihera, of the Gwinnett County Police Department, said.

    Channel 2 Action News first got a tip about the investigation last week, and our crew was there during a drug bust at a home in the 800 block of Austin Court in Lawrenceville.

    Officers requested our reporters to wait until Wednesday to break the story and said the case is far from over.

    "This is still very active. We are still following up on leads to see where where our next seizure, our next information that we get," Pihera said.

    Police said not only will they make more arrests, they will seize more drugs, raising the street value of the $35 million bust.

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