NCSO IDs suspects at grow house

Alberto Mejia and Felix Meregildo-Oxlaj

Alberto Mejia and Felix Meregildo-Oxlaj

COVINGTON -- Two suspects arrested in the Newton County Sheriff's Office raid on a sophisticated marijuana grow operation have been identified.

Alberto Mejia, 34, who listed his address as the grow house at 531 King Bostick Road, and Felix Hilario Meregildo-Oxlaj, 22, of 298 Pulis St., Walterboro, S.C., are in custody at the Newton County Detention Center.

Mejia, a native of Mexico, is charged with possession, manufacture and distribution of marijuana. He is being held on $15,000 bond. Meregildo-Oxlaj, a native of Guatemala, faces charges of possession, manufacture and distribution of marijuana, felony possession of marijuana, improper lane change and driving without a license. He is being held on $15,500 bond.

The NCSO discovered the grow house in the southern part of Newton County after a routine traffic stop Sunday morning. A deputy stopped a car driven by Meregildo-Oxlaj on Henderson Mill Road at Ga. Highway 36 and found about 4 pounds of marijuana in the car.

The investigation of that marijuana led to the discovery of the grow house on King Bostick Road, which yielded more than 1,100 marijuana plants in various stages of growth.

Investigators went to the house Monday to speak with the occupants. While there, officers reportedly could smell the marijuana when they came down the driveway.

A search warrant was issued and the mass of growing plants was found inside the home and in two large outbuildings.

Officials believe the suspects were distributing the marijuana from the house but are working to determine how that was carried out.