A smell that something is not quite right during the search for a prowler leads police to a major drug bust. Kenton County police officers found more than they bargained for in a home on Mills Road in Independence.
They were looking for a burglar but along with him they found hundreds of marijuana plants and an elaborate grow operation. Kenton County detectives say it was a timely find, they catch a known burglar in the act and find about $100,000 worth of marijuana, all on the same call.
Kenton County police detective Andrew Schierberg says, "It's definitely rare, especially to come across something of this magnitude."
Investigators say it's one of the biggest busts in recent memory. Schierberg tells us there were, "Right around 500 plants in the basement of the home, pretty sophisticated system with grow materials, fertilizers, lights with timers, irrigation systems, it was very sophisticated operation."
They believe the operation was run by the couple living in the home, Ronnie Friskey and Gilda Trevino, who are still on the run. Police were called to the home because a witness spotted a prowler. When police arrived, they say Devin Mason was inside, hiding behind a couch. "We had been looking for Devin Mason for awhile, we wanted him in connection to a few different burglaries. It just so happened that from our perspective he was in the right place at the right time," says Schierberg.
We spoke with several neighbors who tell us they were surprised to hear of the bust on the quiet street. They are just glad the drugs are off the street. Police are also happy, they killed two birds with one stone. Schierberg notes, "It's safer now that our marijuana grower is busted. At least the drugs are not going to be in the system and it's safer now that Mr. Mason is behind bars."
Devin Mason is facing six counts of burglary charges-police say he admitted to several other break ins in the area. As for Ronnie Friskey and Gilda Trevino, police are still looking for them. If you have any information on their whereabouts, call crime stoppers at 352-3040.
Police say they found several thousands of dollars in cash and a number of fire arms inside the house. Friskey and Trevino have ties to southeastern Indiana and investigators believe they could be there. We are told federal charges are likely.