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Million Dollar Grow Site Busted in Detroit Because of Tell-Tale Smell

Photo by Nico Escondido

Detroit, Michigan is in the grip of Operation Ceasefire, where police say they are taking neighborhoods back one at a time.

The operation is a partnership between law enforcement, church leaders and community members who are seeking to stop the gunfire and violence between some of the city’s worst gangs.

While this noble cause has recorded a 40 percent reduction in shootings in Detroit’s hard scrabble 9th Precinct, one wonders how Operation Ceasefire ended up finding the otherwise nondescript warehouse with over 200 marijuana plants quietly growing inside it?

The smell.

“Cannabis doesn’t hold the record for world’s smelliest plant, but it sure can seem like it sometimes,” said one scientist. “Terpenes alone can’t explain the smell; cannabis actually has a specific part of its anatomy dedicated to making it smelly.”

The warehouse, which the police called “sophisticated,” obviously was not sophisticated enough to deal with the tell-tale aroma.

Neighbors in the district began to complain of a skunky smell, said Detroit Police Lt. Jonathan Parnell, which alerted the cops to the warehouse.

Investigators said they conducted surveillance for a while before going into the warehouse.

According to its signage, the grow site was supplying medical marijuana to dispensaries, although that claim was disputed by Lt. Parnell.

“They claim they’re caregivers, but that’s bogus. They are not in compliance,” Parnell said. “The way it’s being grown here is strictly illegal.”

Local WXYZ TV showed two floors of the building, approximately 1,000 square feet, of full-size plants in various stages of growth.

“The plants that are mature and ready to be harvested—some are as tall as 7-8-9 feet tall, almost as tall as a Christmas trees,” said Parnell. “All the way from plants in their infancy stages…in small pots.”

One man inside at the time of the bust was arrested without incident after police used the Jaws of Life to dismantle the fortified entrance.

While the grow site operators may not have known how to deal with the smell, at least they had their doors secured.

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