Hundreds of Marijuana Plants Found Inside Johnston Home

A marijuana plant grows in a closet of Ricky's apartment in Southern California, July 30, 2102. (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times/MCT)


By Liz Blood

JOHNSTON, Iowa - Federal agents swarmed into a home in Johnston Wednesday morning. More than a dozen vehicles were outside the house at 7323 Longboat Drive near Saylorville Lake when the first KCCI crew arrived Wednesday morning.

DEA agents and members of the Iowa Narcotics Task Force arrived in the neighborhood about 8 a.m., a neighbor told KCCI. They didn't leave until about 5 p.m.

In the upscale neighborhood, residents said they have been suspicious of peculiar activity in the home.

"I always thought there was something weird about that guy living there. My husband thought he was doing drugs. I just thought he was weird," said the neighbor who did not want to be identified. The neighbor said she watched as agents raided the house Wednesday morning.

About 20 officers with The Drug Enforcement Agency, the state Division of Narcotics Enforcement and the Mid-Iowa Narcotics Task Force entered the house and took a man into custody. Neighbors identify him as the homeowner who has lived in the home for three years.

"Never seen him on the deck, no lights on around there, blinds closed - dark, it was not normal living," said the neighbor.

Undercover officers spent all morning bringing out what appeared to be evidence of a highly sophisticated marijuana growing operation including lights, pipes and large plastic containers.

They also had a search warrant for another 11-room house down the street at 7212 Longboat Drive and seized more materials from the second home.

Agents filled up two trucks with items seized from the homes.

Then they moved to the backyard to begin a long process of lifting marijuana plants through the basement windows in small and large containers, from seedlings to six foot high plants.

One by one, they filled the yard to look like a huge garden. Next door neighbors tell KCCI they smelled a strong scent of pot around the home, but never expected anything like what they saw Wednesday in their family-oriented neighborhood.

"I thank these guys for taking this guy down and whoever else is with him. Hopefully, this guy will be put away for a long time and we never have to worry about him again," said the neighbor.

Officials involved in the investigation have not commented on the case. The man taken from the house in a Polk County sheriff's car has not been identified by authorities.
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