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Randolph County Sheriff’s Office busts major marijuana growing operation

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RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. -- Tucked away down a winding country road near Franklinville was a major operation.

“It's a big operation,” said Randolph County Sheriff Robert Graves. “They had rigged up power from the power pole -- they set it up, inside, and they'd been stealing power from the Randolph Electric Power Company as well, so that’s going to be part of the case too.”

The case is a major one in the drug world even though it involves a substance that seems to be gaining acceptability across the country: marijuana.

Graves says the operation his deputies busted early in the morning on Friday was likely part of a much wider trafficking ring. His deputies arrested Miguel La Rosa Quintana, 61, and Duniesky La Rosa Galvan, 33, both of Andrew Hunter Road.

“They built that garage and I said, 'Son of a gun,'” said Don Falk, who lives nearby. “And then they built that building behind the garage and they don't never come out during the day, they worked at night.”

Deputies confiscated 166 plants -- many of them as tall as the sheriff, who is more than 6 feet tall.

“I don't know how it compares to what rank it would be in but it would certainly be among the top, I would suspect, with this type of operation with 166 full, mature plants,” Graves said.

The sheriff says they got a tip from someone about what might have been going on at the address.

“That's what we've been trying to do with outreach out to our community,” Graves said. “To get them to be our eyes and ears in our community.”

The sheriff said that neighbor, Falk, was not the one who tipped them off but Falk said he backs up what the sheriff did.

“It's a matter that's got to be cleaned up,” Falk said. “Because if it's drug related, let's clean it up up, now.”

Graves says the marijuana had a street value of nearly $150,000 and will be destroyed. Both men arrested face felony drug trafficking charges.