Springfield fire reveals marijuana operation - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Springfield fire reveals marijuana operation

Marijuana plants discovered by Springfield Police Marijuana plants discovered by Springfield Police
Bagged marijuana plants taken in for processing by Springfield Police Bagged marijuana plants taken in for processing by Springfield Police
Mitchell Pelc (Springfield Police photo) Mitchell Pelc (Springfield Police photo)

An early morning fire on Draper Street in Springfield uncovered a large scale marijuana distribution operation. Since that time, authorities have arrested two people they say were involved.

"They found 30 to 40 plants in the basement, a lot of plants that were left to dry, probably about 50-plus pounds of marijuana, not including the marijuana that was on the plants themselves," said Springfield police Sgt. John Delaney.

Fire officials were called to 92-94 Draper Street just before 3 a.m. Tuesday. When they entered the home, they immediately noticed the drug operation.

"They discovered that there were many marijuana plants inside the house, marijuana drying, tubs of marijuana scattered throughout the house," said Delaney.

Police estimate the seized marijuana could be worth upwards of $300,000.

"Hydroponic weed or hydroponic marijuana can be sold on the streets up to $5,000 or $6,000 per pound, so when you look at all the marijuana here this is a substantial amount of marijuana, and the proceeds would be a lot of money," said Delaney.

In addition to the drug operation, police recovered a dozen guns, including high powered rifles and automatic weapons.

Homeowner Paul Jeannenot and first floor tenant Mitchell Pelc are facing charges of trafficking marijuana, improper storage of firearms, and possession of firearms during the commission of a felony.

Jeannenot is in the hospital undergoing treatment after police say he suffered smoke inhalation and some burns to his arms after going back inside of the burning home.

"Where there are drugs there's money where there's money there's guns and that then ensues violence. Draper Street is a great neighborhood I'm sure the neighbors up there are glad to see that this operation has been shut down," said Delaney.

Police say more arrests are expected. The fire at the home caused between $20,000 and $30,000 in damage.

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