Conyers man charged with growing pot

CONYERS -- A 22-year-old Conyers man was arrested Monday after police discovered a marijuana grow operation and 10 marijuana plants in an apartment at the Conyers Housing Authority.

Mario Poole, 1222 Keswick Village Ct., was arrested and charged with violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act for manufacturing marijuana after police found pot-growing equipment at his girlfriend's apartment in the Housing Authority.

The Conyers Police Department was called to the Housing Authority after Lease Enforcement Officer Mike Brown conducted a "move in inspection" for a new resident and found two metal cabinets the size of refrigerators in one of the bedrooms. Brown told police that the units were "pulling a lot of electricity because there were amps, surge protectors and there was heat coming from one of the units," according to the police report.

Brown and Housing Authority Director Gary Erwin told police that there were boxes for aquarium air pumps, soil testing kits, grow lights and other equipment for growing plants inside. Both Brown and Erwin, who have law enforcement backgrounds, said they recognized the equipment as being commonly used to grow marijuana indoors.

Poole's girlfriend returned home while police were there and called Poole to come to the apartment. The girlfriend told police that the cabinets belonged to Poole, who is the father of her 10-month-old child, and she did not know what was inside them. She said the cabinets were locked and Poole had the key. When Poole arrived, he and the girlfriend gave consent to police to search the apartment and cabinets.

Grow trays were found in each cabinet; one tray contained 10 small marijuana plants that were sprouting.

"It was clear from the setup that the plants were going to be moved from one grow tray to the next as they grew ... ," according to the police report.

Poole was handcuffed and placed under arrest. He told police that his girlfriend did not know about the grow operation and had nothing to do with it.

Among the evidence items removed from the apartment were two metal cabinets with grow lights, hygrometers, fans, ballasts, air pumps with timers attached, one grow tray with 10 marijuana plants and six more pods with soil, two empty grow trays, and other items.