BLODGETT - A search warrant executed Thursday at the home of a Scott County couple uncovered the largest indoor marijuana growing operation seen in Southeast Missouri in more than a dozen years, according to Kevin Glaser of the SEMO Drug Task Force.
More than 1,200 marijuana plants were found growing in an elaborate hydroponic system inside the home of Darryl W. and Vicki L. McKnelly at Fox Meadows Estate, near Blodgett.
Taking apart and cataloging the equipment was a time-consuming operation for the officers serving the warrant, lasting well into the afternoon, Glaser said.
"It was probably one of the most sophisticated indoor growing operations I've ever seen and I've been here 12 years," Glaser said. "It was a pretty big ordeal to dismantle everything."
Glaser said the plants growing in the McKnelly home were likely top-grade marijuana and could have brought a hefty price on the street.
"With the amount of fertilizer and the way it was organized, it appeared to be a very high quality of marijuana," he said. "From a distribution and profit standpoint, it's all based on the quality of the pot for the grower."
Darryl McKnelly, 55, and Vicki McKnelly, 52, were not at the residence when the warrant was served but warrants were issued for their arrest on charges of second-degree trafficking. Their bonds are set at $150,000 each.
The couple is being represented by Cape Girardeau Defense Attorney Malcolm Montgomery, who was in contact with the Scott County Sheriff's Department on Friday, discussing arrangements for the McKnellys to turn themselves in but as of late Friday they were still not in custody.
Montgomery said he could not comment on when or whether that might occur.