ZEBULON — Police have arrested a local man they say is responsible for growing the five marijuana plants they seized June 27 from a neighborhood just south of downtown Zebulon.
Martin Hernandez, 38, of 629 Bullhart Drive, Zebulon, now faces one felony charge of manufacturing marijuana. He was being held in the Wake County Jail on $3,000 secure bond as of Friday afternoon.
Zebulon Police Lt. Scott Finch explained the 12-day gap between the time the plants were discovered and time of the arrest was the result of communicating through Hernandez’s attorney. Hernandez cooperated, according to Finch, turning himself in at the police department around 2:30 p.m. on July 9.
“(Hernandez) and his attorney came to the police department for a consensual interview, and based on his cooperation he was charged with manufacturing marijuana,” Finch said.
Police initially identified and questioned a woman who Finch indicated is Hernandez’s girlfriend and also lives at the Bullhart Drive address. Through that interview, police learned of a male suspect who was later determined to be Hernandez. Police are not likely to charge the female suspect, who they say cooperated in the investigation.
Zebulon officers eradicated the plants after they were spotted near an out building behind the home in the Lindsey Pointe subdivision during an aerial sweep by a National Guard helicopter.
The plants were about three feet in height – each capable of yielding one pound of smokable pot, according to Finch. He said the tax value of one pound of marijuana is about $3,500, but that the street value of the seized plants is probably closer to $2,000 per plant.
The Lindsey Pointe neighborhood was one of six Zebulon areas scanned from the sky that Thursday, and was the only place where marijuana was spotted. Finch said it was worth calling in the assistance of the National Guard for the single seizure.
“Any amount (of marijuana) that we can seize and keep from getting in the hands of youth or others who might be prone to use or addiction would be a good use of a resource,” he said.
It marked the first time Zebulon police seized growing plants in the last year, and the first use of the National Guard’s Counterdrug Task Force since September 2011. The task force is a resource available at no cost to police departments.
Hernandez’s next court date is July 30.