Over $1M seized in 'cartel like' pot bust

Photo: TPSO
Photo: TPSO
Photo: TPSO
Photo: TPSO

TANGIPAHOA PARISH, LA (WVUE) - Deep in a wooded area of Tangipahoa, police say they discovered a "cartel-like" marijuana operation.

The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Hammond Police Department seized nearly 320 large marijuana plans and over 250 pounds of processed marijuana.

Officers say the confiscated marijuana has a street value of approximately $1 million.

The discovery of the large grow-area stemmed from the arrest of four individuals in Hammond.

On Tuesday, police say that Donald Chiasson, 31, had reported that a woman had stolen his vehicle. Police were tipped that Megan Crain, 25, had stolen the vehicle and may be headed to Tangipahoa. Chiasson also told police that Crain had illegal narcotics in the back seat of the vehicle.

Deputies located the alleged stolen vehicle on Highway 1050 near James Road. Four people were inside of the vehicle, including one juvenile. The passengers of the car have been identified as Dagoberto Rodriguez, 49, and Brent Crain, 30.

Authorities say they located four rocks of crack-cocaine inside of the vehicle. A crack pipe was also found in Rodriguez's pants, police say. Rodriguez also had four outstanding warrants for his arrest.

Police say they were made aware that Megan and Brent Crain lived with Donald Chiasson, the man who reported his vehicle as stolen. Investigators say they received a warrant to search the residence on Jenkins Road in Hammond. Police say several of the individuals involved in the incident were already targets in an ongoing undercover narcotics investigation.

Approximately 15 pounds of processed marijuana was located and seized, police say.

Following an interview with the suspects, detectives say they became aware of a marijuana grow located on Guy Road in Tangipahoa. Agents say they were led to a large field in a wooded area where a "cartel-like" marijuana operation was located.

Officials say they found at least 318 massive marijuana plants; an irrigation system set up to supply the plants with water; components of processing and cultivating fertilizer; and three outdoor drying stations containing approximately 250 pounds of processed marijuana.

The Drug Enforcement Administration removed the plants, stating that some were 7-feet tall with a diameter 4-feet in width.

The child was subsequently placed in the care of DFCS.

Dagoberto Rodriguez was charged with cultivation of marijuana in Federal Court in the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Megan Crain, Brent Crain and Donald Chiasson were charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana and cultivation of marijuana in the 21st Judicial District of Louisiana. Brent Crain was also charged with parole violation.

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