CRITTENDEN COUNTY, Ark. – Even with all of the weeds sprouting out of the front yard and the banana trees arching over the backyard fence, it was hard for Crittenden County deputies not to notice the 8-foot marijuana plant jutting out beside it.
“You could see it from the road, it was just right there, bam, in your face,” said Chief Deputy Todd Grooms.
Deputies were drawn to the home near Proctor on Labor Day by an anonymous tip.
When they arrived, not only did they find the towering marijuana plant, but also a startled 20-year-old Mason Ross running for the woods.
“’Why are you here? Who turned me in?’ That was all he said,” said Grooms.
Ross had more to say to WREG Monday, insisting the marijuana was for his personal use even though he was charged with manufacturing of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.
“It was big, but it really wasn’t done right. It was, like, outside. It was, like, an experiment. I didn’t even know it was gonna come up,” Ross said.
Ross said he had been growing the marijuana since March, but when deputies searched his property, his problems began growing as well.
Investigators say they found a gun reportedly stolen from Mississippi, although Ross claims he bought it from someone else.
Deputies say they also found pieces of water meters that were stolen from the Crawfordsville area about a month or so ago.
“I bought them too,” said Ross, explaining he planned to sell them for scraps.
Ross couldn’t explain an old Benton County sheriff’s badge deputies say they found in his house, but wholeheartedly defended his attempt to grow marijuana.
“I mean, I knew it’s illegal and I knew what I was doing. You got to risk it for the biscuit, I guess,” said Ross, although he was adamant about not trying it again.
The Sheriff’s Office estimates the plant had a street value of anywhere from $500 to $1,000.