Local News

Story published: 06-19-2012 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Eyes in the sky

By Kayla Carter

Staff Writer

kcarter@erwinrecord.net

Unicoi County law enforcement officers said a routine flyover, conducted on June 15 to canvass the county for illegal drug activity, led them to a marijuana growing operation at 4966 Flag Pond Drive near Sams Gap.

“They spotted several plants growing from the air,” Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley said. “It gave us the right to come to the property and we got a written consent to search.”

Hensley said marijuana plants were found behind a trailer and mobile home. Some were planted in the ground, while others were in large pots.

Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department officials estimated there to be four main growing areas on the property, with around 40 total marijuana plants after a partial search last week. Hensley said that it is clear the operation has been going on for a while because of the size of a few of the plants.

“There are several plants growing on the back porch,” Hensley said on Friday afternoon.“We’re still in the process of searching.”

By Monday, Hensley said firearms were also seized along with the marijuana plants. The search also uncovered a pack of rolled marijuana cigarettes inside the mobile home as well as drug paraphernalia, said Hensley.

Hensley said that although charges have not been placed, the case involving Luther Crumb and his wife, Ava Crumb, will be taken to the Unicoi County Grand Jury.

“The reason for that is that Mr. Crumb is terminally ill,” Hensley said. “We talked with the district attorney and we felt it was the best route to go through the grand jury with this.”

The sheriff said both Luther and Ava Crumb have admitted growing and using marijuana.

Hensley said they could face charges of manufacturing marijuana. “Mr. Crumb has confessed that it is his marijuana,” Hensley said. “Other charges could be pending.”

The action was a joint effort between Tennessee Highway Patrol and Unicoi County law enforcement.