NEWTON N.C. – Investigators seized about two pounds of marijuana and 33 marijuana plants from a Newton residence and outbuilding in what Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid said is the largest indoor marijuana grow operation discovered this year.
A joint investigation by the narcotics units of the sheriff’s offices in Catawba and Lincoln counties suggested there was drug activity at the residence of Joshua Dale Silva, 23, a news release from the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office said.
Catawba County narcotics investigators went to the residence at 3177 Carmel Ridge Drive Thursday, the release said. When Silva came outside, the officers could smell the odor of marijuana coming from the home.
Silva denied the officers’ request to speak with him inside, so investigators obtained a search warrant for the residence and an outbuilding on the property.
Investigators from Lincoln County assisted with the search of the property. In addition to the marijuana, multiple items of drug paraphernalia were found in the house. Marijuana was processed and distributed inside the house. The outbuilding was used for growing and harvesting marijuana plants, the release said.
“We don’t know how long this operation has been going on, but this is going to stop a lot of marijuana from getting into Catawba County,” Reid said. “If you’ve got illegal drugs, we’re coming after you.”
Record news partner WSOC-TV spoke with Silva after he was released from the Catawba County Detention Facility. Silva said he was growing the marijuana in hopes of helping people in states where the drug has been legalized, including people with cancer. “I know marijuana doesn’t cure it, but if it gets their mind off of dying or pain for a couple of hours … that brought happiness to me and happiness to them.”
Reid told WSOC-TV that despite recent changes to marijuana laws in other states, the possession and sale of marijuana remains illegal in North Carolina, and his office will continue to aggressively target marijuana growers and users.
Silva was charged with felony manufacturing marijuana, felony possession with intent to sell and distribute marijuana, felony possession of marijuana, felony maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. He was scheduled to appear in District Court today.