Routine flyover leads to drug bust

Published 1:44 pm Monday, August 17, 2009

By By Kerry Whipple Bean & Lydia Grimes
A routine surveillance flyover in Escambia County led authorities to a home on Alabama 41 North, where on Friday they found about 15 marijuana plants growing in a field, a plant drying in a barn, and drugs and drug paraphernalia in the house.
No charges were filed in the case, but drug task force members questioned two men, a woman and a teenager about the drugs.
Suspects include Mickey Lee Miller, 44, of 18115 Alabama 41; Bobby Blair, 47, of 293 Hawkeye Lane; and Charlene Miller, age unavailable, of 18115 Alabama 41. Authorities also questioned a 16-year-old male.
Charlene Miller is a licensed practical nurse at W.S. Neal High School, investigators said.
Chief Deputy Mike Lambert said the suspects were cooperating, and evidence would be turned over to a grand jury for possible indictments on possession and manufacturing of marijuana.
Investigators said a search of the property and the house turned up the plants — with a value of about $37,500 — various items of drug paraphernalia; bags of marijuana; and one plant hanging up to dry in a barn near the house.
One K-9 unit was brought in and was used in the search of the house as well as around the vehicles outside.
We found a number of drug paraphernalia items and some marijuana in a bag.”
Authorities make regular flyovers to search for drug activity, usually in the summer, Lambert said. Marijuana is visible from the sky because of its distinctive color and finger-shaped leaves.
Lambert said it is actually becoming more rare to find marijuana growing because much of it is bought after it is smuggled in from Mexico.
Lambert said, pointing to the soil around the plants. “They have to hoe around it just like they’re gardening.”
Officers with the 21st Judicial Drug Task Force, Escambia County
Sheriff’s Office and the Alabama Bureau of Investigation were on the scene.

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