Illegal Marijuana Growing Operation Uncovered Inside Tennessee Church

Photo: Stewart County Sheriff's Office

Authorities in Tennessee uncovered one of the largest illegal marijuana growing operations inside of a church. The Stewart County Sheriff's Office launched an investigation several weeks ago after neighbors complained about the smell emanating from the church building.

Investigators interviewed neighbors and were told by people seen coming and going from the building, which was previously used as a church, that claimed hemp was being grown inside. After reviewing the electric and water bills for the building, they secured a search warrant.

However, it took officials longer than expected to get inside due to concerns that the building was riddled with booby traps.

"When the search was conducted, approximately 2000 plants were found in a very sophisticated growing environment. Including elaborated growing and watering systems all on timers. A large amount of possibly toxic chemicals were found," Paulette Redman, Media Relations Coordinator for the Sheriff's Office, wrote on Facebook.

Officials said that one person has been taken into custody and that others are wanted for questioning. They did not identify the individual or say what charges that person is facing.

"The investigation and clean up is still ongoing. Sheriff's Office continues to clean up our county. GREAT Team Work!!!," Redman wrote.

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