$564,000 worth of marijuana plants discovered in Russell Co. - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

$564,000 worth of marijuana plants discovered in Russell Co.


282 marijuana plants were found in Rickey Baker's house at 19 Minger Circle in Russell Co. Ala. on July 29, 2013. There were about 140 pounds of these illegal plants on Baker's property, and the total amount of marijuana plants added up to the street value of $564,000.

According to Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor, the Alabama Aviation crew spotted a huge marijuana plant from the air while flying during an unrelated mission. Sheriff Taylor explained that marijuana has a distinct color compared to other plants, so it was easy for the unit to spot.

Rickey Baker, a 58-year-old Atlanta man, has been charged with trafficking marijuana and obstruction of justice for using a false identity.

Baker told officials his name was Joseph Alfonzo Cowell, and handed them a fake identity.

Sheriff Heath explained that there was no evidence indicating that other people lived with Baker at his home in Minger Circle. Baker was living by himself at that location strictly to grow, sell and distribute marijuana.

Baker has a previous record of trafficking marijuana in the state of Georgia, and if convicted, he could face at least 10 years of imprisonment.

"We have found more marijuana before in total in the past," Sheriff Taylor explained. "However, in one location, one property and for one person, this is a very substantial amount of marijuana."

Sgt. Mike Loyless explained that Baker tried to dispose of one big plant growing on the property. "When we pulled up to the drive way, we found Baker hiding in the bushes not a few feet from the plant. We were staged right up the road, so it took us less than five minutes for us to get a call about the incident and arrive at Baker's house," says Loyless. 

Sheriff Taylor added that Baker had heat lights and other systems in his house which allowed him to grow and nurture young marijuana plants indoors until they were old enough to be placed outside.

"I can tell you that Mr. Baker knew exactly what he was doing. This was not his first rodeo. He has been in this ball game for a very long time."

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