Homeowner: Tenant's huge pot grow ruined house

Homeowner: Tenant's huge pot grow ruined house
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - To Mike Florence, Shawn McGlynn and Vanessa Crump seemed like good tenants. The rent was always on time. They wanted the house for its nearness to a bus stop and a playground.

The house had been his family home until he left a year ago to care for an injured grandmother in Pendleton. To help with his mortgage, he rented the house.

But a recent police raid found that in the year he had been gone the house had become a flourishing marijuana growing operation - and a wreck.

McGlynn and Crump were cited on felony marijuana charges. Police seized more than 700 plants.

Police said McGlynn holds an Oregon medical marijuana card that entitles him to have up to 24 pot plants.

Police said the only room without marijuana plants or drug paraphernalia was an upstairs bedroom decorated with inflatable dinosaurs, glow-in-the-dark stars and a child's drawings.

The damage left by the plants and the raid may cost Florence, or his insurance company, plenty.

The house had been rewired to provide heat and light to grow more than 1,400 marijuana plants, police said. The necessary heat and humidity caused water damage and mold growth.

Soil-filled garbage bags piled up against the back door, and the floor was littered with potting soil and wilted marijuana leaves. The garage was full of upended shelving and dozens of pots filled with the root balls of marijuana plants.

He said he didn't know what to do with the leftover marijuana plant matter. "If I loaded it up and took it to the dump, I'd be breaking the law," he said.

Last week State Police Sgt. Rob Edwards said officers would help dispose of remaining plants.

Edwards said if the house has been used as a meth lab, a professional hazardous materials would have cleaned it up by law. There are no such provisions for marijuana houses.

Edwards said police took away six or seven truckloads of marijuana plants.

"When you're taking out 746 plants, leaves are going to fall off," he said. "We can't pick up every minuscule bit."

He said instead of yanking out every plant, officers lop off the leafy material and leave the root wads on the property.

Edwards told the Register Guard newspaper of Eugene that there were also 660 root balls left by the growers, evidence of previous harvests.

He said growers cut mature plants off at the base and hang them out to dry.

"It's not going to grow back. It's like cutting down a tree," Edwards said.

He said medical marijuana growers must register each grow site but that the Florence property hadn't been registered.

Florence said he did not know McGlynn was a registered cardholder. The registry is confidential.

"You should be able to find out if someone's going to grow marijuana in your house," Florence said.

A neighbor, Mike Drews, said in recent months the scent of marijuana could be overpowering.

He said just before the Fourth of July he was knocking on doors and inviting neighbors to a holiday barbeque.

At the house where McGlynn was staying, he smelled marijuana.

"I said, `Are you smoking in here?' He said, `Are you a cop?' "

Drew said he became increasingly irritated as the operation escalated.

He said the house had several window-mounted air conditioners and fans, apparently required by the intense heat generated by dozens of grow-lights inside.

The air conditioner was running during the snowstorm this winter, Drews said. "Only a moron wouldn't know what they were doing."

He said he also noticed McGlynn loading up a car at 2:30 a.m. or 3 a.m. "I tried to say something to him, but he'd run inside and shut his door," Drews said.

Florence had given Drews a key to the house, and he let the police in.

After officials cleared out the plants, Drews said he joined police for a celebratory pizza in the house. Florence said officers left the pizza boxes amid the other litter.

"I'm frustrated. I'm upset and I'm hurt," he said.

"I just want my house back to the way that it was. "