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Underground marijuana-growing operation uncovered in Puna

Published On: Mar 04 2013 11:31:00 AM HST
PAHOA, Hawaii -

Big Island police says officers dismantled a sophisticated underground bunker marijuana-growing operation in Puna.

Ending a two-year-long investigation that began in Kona, Vice Section officers served a search warrant Thursday on a home on Kokokahi Road in Glenwood.

On the property was an underground bunker approximately 40-feet-by-80-feet.

The setup of this growing operation, which used two large diesel generators to power the bunker’s fans and lights, posed a significant risk of fire and potentially a large explosion.  With the assistance of the State Narcotics Enforcement Division and the Hawaii Fire Department’s Hazmat Team, the large growing operation was safely dismantled.

Police recovered more than 500 marijuana plants, which are about 3-to-4-feet-tall, approximately 10 pounds of dried marijuana and a small amount of hashish from the bunker and surrounding property.

Officers also seized and set for forfeiture $4,000 in cash, two vehicles, a backhoe, a trailer, three diesel generators and other tools. Total items for forfeiture totaled more than $100,000.

Police arrested 60-year-old Charles Howard Lanham III and 67-year-old Linda L. Stallings at the scene.  The two were taken to the Hilo police cellblock while Vice Section detectives continued the investigation.

Friday afternoon, detectives charged each of them with two counts of first-degree commercial promotion of a detrimental drug, one count of second-degree commercial promotion of a detrimental drug, and five counts of possessing drug paraphernalia. Bail was set $42,000 for Lanham and $35,000 for Stallings.  Both were released from police custody Saturday after posting bail.

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