A Fort Smith man has been arrested after police say they discovered more than 100 marijuana plants inside a home in Fianna Hills.
Chi Hieu Pham, 23, was taken to the Sebastian County Adult Detention Center where he faces charges of manufacturing marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to police.
Authorities responded the home at 3616 Coventry Lane shortly before 8 a.m. Tuesday (July 30). Police on scene say the marijuana plants are estimated to be worth nearly $600,000 and the house appears to be wired strictly for an indoor growing operation. At least three rooms in the home were used strictly for growing and cultivating the plants, according to authorities.
“There were actually a couple of rooms each had a couple of mattresses in them but very very bare as far as living conditions were concerned,” said Capt. Jamie Hammond with the Fort Smith Police Department.
Police also found around $11,000 in cash inside the home as well.
“It’s just a quiet residential Cul-de-sac street and this guy’s in here growing marijuana and profiting off of it and putting everybody at danger by doing so,” Hammond said.
Raymond Minkle, who lives up the road from Pham’s Fianna Hills house said he’s had an eye on the property for several months after he noticed a lot of traffic coming in and out of the home.
“They seemed nice enough because they always smiled and they always waved,” Minkle explained. “But you know, there was just too much traffic. Too much traffic. Whenever there’s too much traffic in one home you know, unless they have teenage kids, it’s probable that something’s not right.”
Minkle and other neighbors say they’re relieved authorities have cracked down on the pot operation in their neighborhood.
“It’s the safety of it,” Hammond explained. “As you can see this is a residential neighborhood. This place could easily catch on fire, or blow up. Who’s to say what could happen here.”
Investigators said the bust is the result of a 4-month investigation that began with a tip from a confidential informant. Police said they also delivered a search warrant at another home owned by Pham in Barling Tuesday (July 30). However, investigators said no drugs or drug paraphernalia were found inside that home.