Police: Marijuana grow operation had almost 1,000 plants

Authorities say this photo and others from a trail camera helped them to identify a man who was growing nearly 1,000 marijuana plants in the Tuscarora State Forest. (Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.)

MIFFLIN, Pa. (WHTM) – A central Pennsylvania couple is charged after the discovery of a marijuana growing operation that had more than 60 plants at their home and nearly 1,000 more in a nearby state forest.

Jeremy A. Leach, 35, and his wife, 37-year-old Erin R. Leach were arrested Thursday after police raided their Mifflin home and found three marijuana plants in the basement and about 60 to 62 others growing outside in an old dog kennel, according to a criminal complaint filed by state police.

Authorities found almost 1,000 marijuana plants growing.

An apparent processing room with several pounds of loose marijuana and storage jars was found in an upstairs bedroom connected to the attic stairs, police said in the complaint.

Jeremy Leach told police he was growing the marijuana for his own use and was not selling it. Erin Leach said she stayed out of three rooms and didn’t know what was going on, but she said she was aware her husband was smoking pot in the attic.

Both are charged with a felony count of possession with intent to deliver and two misdemeanor drug offenses.

The search warrant followed the discovery of 975 marijuana plants growing in the Tuscarora State Forest in Mifflin County. A fisherman in March found the three plots surrounded by chicken wire.

A spokesman for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said Jeremy Leach set up a trail camera to watch over the plot. When authorities found and checked that camera, they found photos of Leach and his car.

Authorities say this photo and others from a trail camera helped them to identify a man who was growing nearly 1,000 marijuana plants in the Tuscarora State Forest. (Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.)

The spokesman said Jeremy Leach also faces charges for the destruction of trees he cut so sunlight could reach the crop.

“We did find a trail camera on the site, which we were able to download some images from. We did find an individual who visited the site fairly frequently. We recovered those images, replaced the card, and left the site,” DCNR ranger Steven Shaffer said.

“I think it’s poetic justice, actually. He set it out here to see anybody else was coming out here to his grow site, and ultimately it was used to undo his own operation,” said Scott Miller, district forester at Tuscarora State Forest.

Authorities say this photo and others from a trail camera helped them to identify a man who was growing nearly 1,000 marijuana plants in the Tuscarora State Forest. (Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.)

A marijuana growing operation was found in the same area of the forest in 2015.

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