Police seize $35K in pot while serving eviction notice

SNELLVILLE -- Stay off the grass -- especially if you think you might be evicted soon.

For the third time in a two-week span Friday, Gwinnett County sheriff's deputies said they stumbled on a substantial amount of marijuana while performing a routine eviction, this time almost three pounds worth at a residence in Snellville.

Deputies said they were serving an eviction notice at 4200 Waters Way in Snellville when they discovered three pounds of marijuana -- approximately $35,000 street value -- stashed in a closet.

Fifty-one-year-old resident Vernon Bates was arrested for felony possession of marijuana and is also facing charges of possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime after deputies found two guns during the eviction, Gwinnett Sheriff's department spokeswoman Stacey Bourbonnais said.

Earlier in the week, Gwinnett County deputies reportedly discovered 20 marijuana plants growing at a townhome at 6351 Views Trace in Norcross, also while serving an eviction. Jonda Lynn Bernice Carethers, 30, was charged with manufacturing marijuana.

Another bust, also in Snellville, found the most creative weed-monger -- deputies say they found six pot plants growing inside of a hollowed-out big screen TV at the Wethersfield Road home of Warren English last Wednesday.

With the economy in its current state, evictions are on the rise in Gwinnett, and with that comes the rise of incidental arrests, Bourbonnais said.

"This is the most we've seen back-to-back like this recently," she said. "We see all kinds of things on evictions, but I would say I don't remember in recent months coming across this many (pot busts) back-to-back."