Chase leads to drugs

Charles Byrd

Charles Byrd

BUFORD -- A man fleeing from a DUI checkpoint led Gwinnett County police to a marijuana grow operation Saturday, with officers seizing more than $300,000 worth of marijuana from the Buford residence, police said.

Just after 10 p.m., members of Gwinnett County's DUI task force attempted to pull over a man later identified as 23-year-old Charles Byrd of Sugar Hill, Gwinnett County police spokesman Officer Brian Kelly said.

Byrd reportedly fled on foot, locking himself in the house on the 5000 block of Cumming Highway.

Police established a perimeter around the house, and when Byrd later emerged from the house, officers reported a strong odor of marijuana coming from the residence. They obtained a search warrant after spotting a second suspect hiding within the house.

In serving the warrant, police said they found 69 marijuana plants, as well as about 1,500 grams of processed marijuana. All told, police estimated the street value of the drugs seized at $327,000.

In addition to Byrd's charges related to the attempted DUI stop, he and 25-year-old Timothy Donahue, the second suspect in the house, were charged with of possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver.

Kelly said police do not think there were more people directly involved in the operation, but are working to trace where and how the suspects might have been trafficking marijuana.