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Nearly #036;100,000 worth of marijuana seized

Butler County Sheriff's Deputies arrested John Phillip Speir Jr., 41, of Greenville, Friday and seized 38 marijuana plants, growing lamps and several other items used to grow the plants.

Butler County Sheriff Diane Harris said that, after a fly-over by the Alabama Department of Public Safety Marijuana Eradication team, the plants were spotted growing in a clear patch near a residence located at the intersection of Highways 31 and 185 just outside of Greenville early Friday.

The Butler County Sheriff's Office was then called in to investigate. Speir consented to a search, therefore a search warrant did not have to be obtained, she said.

"The helicopters were flying around the Speir residence and located several plants growing outside of the residence," Harris said. "Deputies moved in on it, seized the plants and consent to search was given by Mr. Speir and then at that time, on the inside of the house, we found more marijuana."

Harris said that after finding the plants growing near the residence, officials searched the home and barn located behind the home to find more plants growing inside a closet in the home as well as aluminum foil, tweezers, rolling papers and other drug paraphernalia.

In the barn, they found growing lamps, temperature and weather gauges, a timer and a room for drying the plants, according to Harris. She said there also were pictures of marijuana plants found inside the home.

Harris said the plants are worth approximately $3,000 each.

She said Speir gave a statement to officials that he had been growing the marijuana since March of this year and he is now being charged with possession of marijuana, first degree, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Harris said she is very proud of the deputies and others in her department for their work in this major drug bust. "I commend my deputies for an excellent job. This is what I like to seedrugs brought off the streets so they won't get into the hands of young people."

Harris also thanked the Drug Eradication Team for coming to Butler County. "We were successful this time in that we did have an arrest in the county."