Weatherford Democrat

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May 21, 2013

Grass fire smokes out marijuana operation

By CHRISTIN COYNE

Firefighters attempting to save a house during a grass fire Sunday afternoon stumbled across a bedroom with dozens of marijuana plants, leading to a resident’s arrest. 

Around 5 p.m., firefighters were called to the 600 block of Meadowview Trail and found that a fire had consumed a barn or shed and was endangering a nearby home. 

The flames were touching the main residence so firefighters entered to make sure that there was no fire in the residence and no one was inside, according to the sheriff’s office. 

In a back bedroom, they discovered multiple potted marijuana plants. 

Law enforcement obtained consent to search the residence and located and photographed 41 potted plants in the room, according to a Weatherford-Parker County Special Crimes Unit officer. The plants reportedly had a lighting and irrigation system constructed around them. 

In addition to the plants they seized, officers reportedly found grow lights, timers  and humidifiers, as well as additional cultivated marijuana and drug paraphernalia. 

Resident William Joseph McCue, 26, told investigators that he knew marijuana was growing in the residence and took care of the plants from time to time, according to the sheriff’s office. 

The amount seized was expected to be two to four ounces when dried, according to investigators. 

Deputies also discovered that the residence was under construction to expand the illegal operation, sheriff’s Deputy Danie Huffman reported. 

According to the sheriff’s office, the fire is suspected to have originated from an oudoor burn barrel before spreading through the grass and destroying the outbuilding. 

Additional charges were pending as SCU and county fire marshals continued to investigate. 

Area fire officials did not return several messages. 

McCue, who was arrested on a class A misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana, was released from the Parker County Jail Monday afternoon on $2,000 bond, according to jail records.

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