December 19, 2014

Elyria
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Homeowner faces drug charge after break-in

ELYRIA — A home break-in and a quick capture of the suspects led police to another investigation Thursday when they found a marijuana-growing operation inside the home that was broken into.

Corey Phillips, 35, was charged with drug paraphernalia possession Monday after police said they found marijuana inside his home on the 400 block of Ohio Street.

Officers initially responded to the house about 7 a.m. Thursday after a neighbor saw two men, who police later identified as Jumarr Lewis, 19, and Ronnie Smith, 19, climbing over a fence to Phillips’ home.

The neighbor told police they went into Phillips’ shed with backpacks and left before returning to the house a short time later.

Police found Smith and Lewis — both former athletes at Elyria High School — walking around the intersection of Hamilton Street and Gulf Road after the break-in.

Smith admitted to breaking into and stealing from the home because they knew a drug dealer lived inside, according to a court document. Officer searched their backpacks where they found 550 grams of marijuana, an Xbox 360 and a bag of AK-47 rounds, police said.

When police went back to the home, which was unoccupied at the time of the break-in, they found enough evidence to launch an investigation into the alleged drug activity of its resident, they said.

Through an open window, police could see six to seven marijuana plants, lamps, a ventilation system and chemicals, which officers believed were part of a marijuana-growing operation, according to police.

Smith and Lewis were charged with burglary and taken to Lorain County Jail on Thursday.

They are scheduled to appear 2 p.m. Thursday in Elyria Municipal Court.

Phillips was charged with the marijuana possession Monday.

Police are requesting a warrant to take DNA samples from both Smith and Lewis to compare them to DNA found inside Phillips’ home after the break-in.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.