Property search unearths underground bunker, pot-growing operation

Posted at 8:26 AM, Feb 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-12 10:26:56-05

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    YANCEY COUNTY, N.C. (WLOS) — An investigation by Yancey County authorities leads investigators to an elaborate hydroponic growing operation.

On Feb. 4, 2019, detectives executed a search warrant on an underground bunker in the Green Mountain community.

Upon gaining entry to the bunker, detectives found an elaborate hydroponic grow operation containing 259 green marijuana plants and several vacuum-sealed packages of harvested marijuana totaling 128.3 pounds. Authorities estimate the street value of the plants at $300,000.

The bunker was camouflaged by a garage on the property.

A second warrant was executed on February 6, 2019, on a residence in the Newdale community.

The same offender owned both properties. The Newdale search resulted in confiscation of another 158 grams of marijuana.

Jeremy James LaMotte, 45, of the Newdale community, was arrested in Buncombe County on February 7, 2019 for the Green Mountain warrants and released on a $15,000 bond.

He was arrested again in Yancey County on February 8, 2019 for the Newdale warrants and released on a $5,000 bond.

In total, LaMotte has been charged with two counts of felony trafficking in marijuana; two counts of felony possession of a Schedule VI controlled substance; two counts of possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver; two counts of felony maintaining a vehicle, dwelling or place for a controlled substance; and felony manufacture of a Schedule VI controlled substance.

LaMotte has been released on a total on $20,000 bond awaiting his first appearance in Yancey County District Court on February 20, 2019.

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