OBERLIN - A Florida couple turned themselves in to police Friday on charges accusing them of operating a large-scale marijuana-growing operation in the basement of a home on Morgan Street.
Thomas Jessup, 30, and Andrea M. Jessup, 24, of Palm Harbor, Fla., each were charged with felony counts of cultivation of drugs, tampering with evidence and possession of criminal tools.
The Jessups were booked into the Lorain County Jail, and each was released a short time later after posting $10,000 cash and $10,000 personal bond.
During a police investigation in June, authorities found 199 marijuana plants dumped at three locations that they say the Jessups had grown, according to Oberlin police Detective Victor Ortiz.
If grown to maturity, the plants would have had a street value of $1,000 each, or about $200,000, Ortiz said.
Police believe Thomas Jessup flew to Ohio about once a week to take care of the plants, Ortiz said.
But the operation went astray when the couple got into a fight with a friend, who then called police, Ortiz said.
"He got into a fight in Florida with them, and the next day he called us, saying he had information about a marijuana grow operation," Ortiz said.
"Somehow, he (Thomas Jessup) knew we would be snooping around and dismantled it," Ortiz said.
Andrea Jessup owns the home at 239 Morgan St. under her maiden name, and other information provided by the informant checked out, Ortiz said.
Some growing paraphernalia was found in the house, he said, and marijuana plants were found stuffed in garbage bags at three locations, including the Lorain County Metro Parks on Jones Road in Wellington Township.
He said authorities believe the Jessups rented a truck and dumped the fledgling marijuana plants.
Ortiz said the police investigation conducted in cooperation with the Lorain County Drug Task Force showed that electric bills at the house had jumped from about $60 a month to $300 or more.
Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.