More than 2,500 marijuana plants were seized and 18 homes were raided Wednesday in massive drug sting in Gwinnett County, police said.
The raids targeted what appeared to be a single drug-trafficking organization operating out of various locations throughout the county, according to Lawrenceville police.
The Gwinnett Metro Task Force led the operation, which involved police officers from every city in Gwinnett County, as well as county, state and federal authorities.
“So far, over a dozen search warrants at residences have been carried out and there have been several arrests,” Lawrenceville police Lt. Jake Parker told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Marijuana has been located at the majority of the sites.”
Some of the locations were empty, Parker said. Others had two or three people living in the home.
Parker said the organization was a sophisticated one. Several of the homes raided had growing rooms and entire basements full of suspected marijuana.
One of those homes was on Arnold Road in Lawrenceville, according to Channel 2. About 210 plants were found in the residence and the upper level of the home was used for cutting and sorting them, the news station reported.
Another home on Wildcat Cliff Way had more than 310 plants found inside its basement with a full-scale packaging operation upstairs, Channel 2 reported.
About $250,000 in cash was found in a home on Five Forks Trickum Road, Channel 2 reported. At least two firearms and a money counting machine were also found in the residence.
Officers and agents, more than 50 of them, got started about 6 a.m. Wednesday.
They wore masks as they hauled out bag after bag of plant material at some locations, but Parker said neighboring homes were not at risk of any bio hazards. The masks were for the officers own safety, he said, because some of the grow rooms were damp and musty.
Investigators were still working to learn the organization’s reach Wednesday.
“Usually an operation like this has some other roots, or extension,” Parker said.
Eight people were arrested during the operation, including one person who attempted to escape from the home on Wildcat Cliff Way when SWAT teams arrived, Channel 2 Action News reported.
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