Local News

Pot growing bust likely largest in Roanoke Rapids history

Posted November 20, 2012

— 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. 

Police find massive marijuana operation in Roanoke Rapids Police bust huge marijuana operation in Roanoke Rapids

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.


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  • brotorious Nov 27, 2012

    Growing pot is hard work. Another hard working American getting his job shipped over the border to Mexico.

  • Snap dragon Nov 23, 2012

    "at GravyPig: Actually the investigation into her embezzlement is what led PD to his buildings and the resulting charges against him.ncrph08"

    No what led to the investigation had nothing to do with his wife. He actually was involved in a traffic stop. There was moonshine in the back of the truck and smell of pot coming from inside of truck. PD got warrants to search is property due to moonshine and smell of pot and his criminal record.

  • ncrph08 Nov 21, 2012

    at GravyPig: Actually the investigation into her embezzlement is what led PD to his buildings and the resulting charges against him.

  • Screw WrAl Nov 21, 2012

    Did they leave any behind, because I can't seem to find any anywhere this week.

  • GravyPig Nov 21, 2012

    "So what you are saying is that because he can't find legitimate work, it's ok for him to break the law as he see's fit since "that's the one of the few jobs available"? Same goes for his wife, not paid enough so why not take a little extra from the company (allegedly)?

    Yes I consider it the "easy way". Finding legitimate work is harder. Taking multiple jobs to make ends meet is harder. Going to get some education and/or training to improve his prospects is harder. There are countless illegal ways one can make money."

    You are more than welcome to try and assume what I mean but it would be foolish to assume that I mean it is OK to commit crimes. It was an attempt at humorous commentary to someone who thinks what this man is doing is "easy". He does have "multiple jobs". Guess we'll have to agree to disagree then.

    As for his wife, she is a footnote in an article about pot. Not that her shadyness has anything to with the article or the pot arrest.

  • allen7 Nov 21, 2012

    Boy! ALOT of Police haters on this thread. The police do a great job and I support them 100%. The people who put them down are the first ones who CRY for help when they feel they've been done wrong. You haters: I'd like to see you put your life on the line EVERY,SINGLE,DAY!

  • newtogolo Nov 21, 2012

    Wow! Not even one comment about how it's Obama fault, but all I see is LEGALIZE it. Really?! Let it had've been the other color.

  • discowhale Nov 21, 2012

    ...uh, could someone look could someone please look in their At-Home-Law-Library and see how MANY in a 'copious'.

    As with all things like this, the warrants and arrest records are public documents. IF the 'journalists' at WRAL had wanted us to know how many in a 'copious', they would have printed a NUMBER.

    Or, it could be that the RR Police haven't let all the numbers out yet. Which, again, I find odd. Because they should be charging him with possession of "X,XXX" number of plants. They can't just charge you with a 'copious' number of anything.

    OK, having said all that, do I think this miscreant and this thieving wife belong behind bars? AB-so-LUTELY! If they're breaking these laws, they're breaking plenty of others. But this story doesn't tell us how big a couple of law breaking j3rks they are. I'm guessing, lacking any journalistic proof, they're 'copiously' j3rkish.

    But, we DO need to change the pot laws. Legalization, Taxation, Education, Rehabilitation as needed.

  • Rebelyell55 Nov 21, 2012

    ....its certainly as harmful as tobacco and possibly as bad as alcohol.

    Grand Union
    November 21, 2012 10:52 a.m.
    ....Hum, might want to do some research, before making such statement.

  • robbyh Nov 21, 2012

    I think everyone should be able to grow two to three plants .