Roanoke Rapids, N.C. — A Roanoke Rapids man was taken into custody Tuesday after police say they discovered a 3,000-square-foot indoor marijuana growing operation in the Bargain Wonderland building.
Maj. Tommy Hathaway said the bust appears to be the largest of its kind in Roanoke Rapids history.
Investigators say Kenneth Lewis Brooks, 49, who is on probation after an April dog-baiting conviction, was busted with moonshine during a recent traffic stop, which led police to get a search warrant for his property at 298 Roanoke Avenue.
During that search, police found four or five jars of moonshine, a "copious amount of weapons," a small quantity of marijuana and the type of spurs used in cockfighting, Hathaway said.
Officers then learned that Brooks owned the property next door, at 300 Roanoke Ave., and applied for a warrant to search it.
On Tuesday, on the third floor of that building, a police special response team and narcotics agents, assisted by North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement agents, found the marijuana operation, which encompassed the entire third floor of the building.
Capt. Andy Jackson said officers could smell the plant before they saw it.
"The magnitude of what we saw – you got the 'wow' experience," he said.
He added that the mix of drugs, alcohol and guns seized from the property made for a "very potent, dangerous mix."
Halifax County District Attorney Melissa Pelfrey arrived at the scene later to help investigators decide on charges. Hathaway said Brooks, who was arrested but not yet formally charged, will likely face marijuana manufacturing and trafficking counts.
Police did not find any evidence that cockfighting or the manufacture of moonshine had taken place in either building.
Brooks' wife, 46-year-old Tracey Brooks, is under investigation for allegedly embezzling money and merchandise from the Harley-Davidson dealership where she worked, authorities said.