Suspected marijuana grow houses found in Fort Bend County

March 1, 2013 8:20:38 PM PST
One million dollars' worth of marijuana was found growing inside two Fort Bend County homes, and police say it all belonged to one man.

The homes are just blocks from each other, in the 7700 block of Londres Drive and another in the 6900 block of Santa Rita Drive. Neighbors say they had no idea what was going on.

Fort Bend County Narcotics Task Force agents confiscated over $1 million worth of marijuana.

"I never thought that such a thing would happen over here," neighbor Trong Nguyen said.

Nguyen thought the house two doors down was vacant.

"This neighborhood is very quiet, usually very peaceful over here," Nguyen said.

Neighbors snapped pictures during the raid Thursday afternoon as agents began dismantling the operation. Detectives call it a "sophisticated" grow operation, seizing an assortment of lights, scales water pumps, and fans. All are believed used for the manufacture, packing and sale of the pot.

Joseph Milton Rowland, 35, was arrested and charged with felony possession of marijuana. Investigators say he was growing pot in three rooms of this house and also another in the 6900 block of Santa Rita.

"I was shocked really. I was very shocked," said Susan Richani, who owns that house.

Richani says she rented it to Rowland about a year ago for $950 a month. She says he always paid rent on time, was quiet and respectful. She had no idea though about his arrest till we knocked on her door Friday night. She's worried now about just how much damage was Rowland might have done in the home.

"It seems very good person. After all, we find different," Richani said.

Detectives say two alert Fort Bend County sheriff's deputies first became suspicious of the illegal activity while they were out patrolling the neighborhood. They'd been watching the homes for over a month.

Rowland remains in custody in the Fort Bend County Jail on a $50,000 bond.
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