By CHARITY B. SMITH
Sunday Times Newspapers
ALLEN PARK — Police raided a vacant rental property that was being used for a marijuana grow operation Oct. 13 following a tip from a citizen.
“We had a tip from a resident that no one was living there, but that cars would come and go all the time from the property and that there was a strong odor coming from the home,” Allen Park Police Detective Thorburn said.
Thorburn said it took approximately two weeks from the tip to obtain and execute a search warrant for the house in the 6300 block of Winona. Thorburn followed the tip and went to the house to investigate.
“It was pretty overpowering,” he said of the odor coming from the house. “There is a difference in smell of green marijuana and burned marijuana. The odor was so strong you could smell it from a couple of houses away. If the wind was coming westward and you were driving down the street you’d smell it.” Thorburn called in the Downriver Area Narcotics Organization, which is comprised of many local officers and operated by the Michigan State Police, who took over the operation and obtained and executed the warrant.
The house was discovered to be an unregistered rental property. The renter was not living in the house, but using it to grow marijuana. Thorburn said the renter has a license to possess and grow marijuana, but was violating his permitted limit.
In Michigan a person can be a caregiver and essentially grow marijuana for five patients and himself. Each person is entitled to 12 plants, which means a grower can grow up to 72 plants at a time. Thorburn said the number of plants in the house was above the limits.
“Neighbors said they saw several large garbage bags full of marijuana being carried from the home,” Thorburn said.
The biggest concern now is that a nice house is now uninhabitable and is going to require a major clean up, Thorburn said. He then gave an analogy of how if you were to use a smoker in your home it would stink up the house for two years.
“Imagine how long this will take to get rid of,” he said in reference to the smell.
“The home was so hot that the blinds in the windows melted,” Thorburn said. “The home was not registered as a rental unit, therefore our ordinance officers were not monitoring the home closely.”
DRANO is waiting on a warrant from the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office to arrest the renter.
(Charity B. Smith can be reached at [email protected].)