Indoor pot operation shut down

By: W. Curt Vincent -

KELLY — An anonymous tip led the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office Narcotic Unit to a residence in Kelly, where marijuana was found being grown indoors.

According to Sheriff Jim McVicker, the incident took place in early October and resulted in three arrests.

He said deputies went to a residence along N.C. Hwy 11 and performed a “knock and talk.” — when the residents came to the door, the officers could smell a strong odor of marijuana coming from the mobile home and when confronted with this, they were allowed in to search.

“Officers seized 13.6 pounds of marijuana along with several firearms and all the equipment used for the indoor grow operation,” McVicker said.

Arrested were Ciara Gutierrez, 22, of Kelly; Sebastian Zea, 23, of Kelly; and Daniel Giraldo, 26 of Cullowhee.

“This was a good arrest and it was made possible by a concerned citizen who reported the suspicious activity to my deputies,” McVicker said. “Acting on this information they did their investigation and were able to shut down this indoor grow operation.

“When we receive credible information we are going to act on it,” he added. “I would encourage anyone who suspects illegal activity somewhere to call the Sheriff’s Office. The name of the person calling will be kept confidential.”

All three were charged with manufacturing marijuana, and maintaining a dwelling for the purpose of manufacturing a controlled substance. They were placed in Bladen County Jail under a $100,000 bond each.

W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.

W. Curt Vincent