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WATCH: Police Charge Laurel Man in Large Marijuana-Growing Operation

Police said they found 341 plants worth $510,000 in the former Baltimore City Police Department civilian employee's home.

This story has been updated with suspect's background and potential penalties.

Howard County police have charged a Laurel man, formerly a Baltimore police lab technician, in a marijuana-growing operation that police say involved hundreds of plants found in his basement.

Manoj Unni, 30, the sole occupant of 9318 Cross Timbers Court, was charged Wednesday with possession of marijuana, possession with intent to distribute and possession of equipment to produce marijuana and drug manufacturing, according to a press release.

He faces up to 16 years in prison and/or $46,000 in fines if convicted, according to court records.

According to Howard County police, Unni is a former civilian crime lab technician with Baltimore City Police.

He stopped working for the agency in 2006, said Baltimore City Police spokesman Anthony J. Guglielmi.

The Howard County Police vice and narcotics division on Wednesday searched Unni’s home following an anonymous tip and located a “substantial marijuana grow operation in the basement, including sophisticated growing equipment,” police said.

Detectives said they found 341 plants yielding, at full maturity, approximately 170 pounds, worth $510,000.

"At this point, there's no indication this is connected to anything of a larger scale," said Howard County police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn. "Our investigation will continue on what was happening with those drugs after they left the residence."

Police said they also found high-intensity lights, a dehumidifier, air filters, water pumping systems, lighting timers, a CO2 system and a ventilation system.

Unni has been released on $25,000 bond.

greenbro May 10, 2012 at 02:02 PM
its just weed. dang
Mike May 10, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Sucks to be you man!
Mike May 10, 2012 at 02:14 PM
3k for a pound. Must be pretty decent stuff.
Lisa Rossi (Editor) May 10, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Howard County will be displaying the plants to the media at 11 a.m. today. Reporter Brian Hooks will have video, stay tuned...
Dana Schwartz May 10, 2012 at 02:45 PM
North of Laurel, in Howard County
Mike Radinsky May 10, 2012 at 03:01 PM
because the media has never seen marijuana plants and need to know what they look like, right?
MG42 May 10, 2012 at 04:11 PM
The plants look very unhealthy. Very yellowish on the outside edge of the leaves. Looks like a sulfur deficientcy.
number9dream May 10, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Was there a banner that said "Mission Accomplished"?
Lisa Rossi (Editor) May 10, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Heads up: I updated the story with his possible penalty: up to 16 years in prison and/or $46,000 in fines.
JH May 10, 2012 at 04:54 PM
I am sure it was for medical purposes. Unni is just evolving --- like the President.
MG42 May 10, 2012 at 07:48 PM
All for a safe plant that makes people happy. More excellent work from government. A+
greenbro May 10, 2012 at 09:24 PM
that mission accomplished line was nice i would like that if i could
Polly May 13, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Aw heck, they just busted him cuz they can't tax it. They really must legalize it already.
NED Muffley May 14, 2012 at 07:05 PM
I guess no Onam for Manoj!
Polly June 03, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Seriously, I'll never understand why it has been legalized already. It is not a gateway to stronger drugs and pot smokers are some of the most laid back folks I know. I especially would like it legalized in MD at least for medicinal purposes. I've suffered with chronic/severe back pain for almost 9 years and I'm sure it would help me out. But, 170 pounds is certainly not for casual use. His buyers are really going to be unhappy too.
Lisa Rossi (Editor) June 03, 2012 at 04:44 PM
heads up -- I've deleted a comment by the user "pig" because it contained profanity.
Rsatteson June 03, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Yeah, so layed back she almost killed her baby because she "forgot" it was on the cars roof and drove off...Read the following.......PHOENIX, June 2 (Reuters) - A marijuana-smoking woman was arrested on Saturday in Phoenix after she accidentally drove away with her five-week-old son in a child safety seat on the roof of her vehicle, police said.
Polly June 15, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Too bad I didn't get back sooner but, to RSatteson! I'll admit what she didn't was thoughtless and could have ended tragically but to blame it on weed is ridiculous. First of all she's very young, immature and a new mother. What about all those older, more matured parents that under the influence of oxygen have absentmindedly left there child strapped in a car seat all day when they are at work? Or are shopping? And I'd bet that happens a lot more often.

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