09/16/10 — Twenty marijuana plants found in Fremont

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Twenty marijuana plants found in Fremont

By Laura Collins
Published in News on September 16, 2010 1:46 PM

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Marijuana plants lie in the back of a pick-up truck waiting to be taken to the Wayne County Sheriff's Office to be held as evidence. The 20 plants were found along Pinkney Church Road in Fremont.

The Wayne County Sheriff's Office has recovered 20 marijuana plants that were growing in the county.

In response to a tip Sheriff Carey Winders received, the Sheriff's Office used a helicopter to search around Pinkney Church Road in Fremont.

Deputies recovered 20 plants that were approximately nine feet tall growing at the home of Michael Coats, 46.

"Twenty plants is a lot when you have that growth," Winders said. "That's a pretty big confiscation when they get to maturity like they were."

According to the State Bureau Investigations, mature marijuana plants can have a street value of up to $2,400 each, which makes the recent bust worth $48,000.

After the plants were spotted from the helicopter, the Goldsboro Wayne County Drug Squad confiscated the plants, which were being raised at Coats' home. Winders said the arrest was cut and dry because it was unlike other cases where growers raise the plants on someone else's property without the owner's knowledge.

He also added that there's been a decrease in the amount of marijuana plants that have been recovered this growing season, which ends in the fall. He attributes the lower numbers to the increased effort of the Sheriff's Office and Goldsboro Wayne County Drug Squad.

"It's far and few between to find them," he said. "We attribute it to the fact that we have a helicopter and we have trained spotters."

However, Winders said they still have helicopter flights planned to monitor the county for the remainder of the summer and after the growing season.

Coats, who Winders said was very cooperative, was charged with manufacturing marijuana and maintaining a dwelling for the use of marijuana and taken to Wayne County Jail with a $2,500 bond.