Major drug bust leads to arrests
A major drug bust happened in an abandoned building on South Grand and 8th late last week.
Springfield Police call it one of they have seen.
"In my 20 years of doing this, it's the biggest grow operation I've ever seen. I'm not saying it's the biggest one ever, but it may be the biggest one Springfield Police have seen," Springfield Police Lieutenant Brian Oakes said.
It was a thriving business that was growing under Springfield's nose.
"It was very, very sophisticated, a lot of thought went into this, a lot of effort, a lot of money," Oakes said.
The business had also been growing for quite a while.
"There was a tip and some other information that we were able to ascertain in late July, but we've been working it since then," Oakes said.
Despite the timing of the first tip the department received, investigators were unable to go into the building to take everything out until last Friday.
"An operation of this scale and magnitude, it takes time you can't rush investigations and if you do, you could lose it," Oakes said.
One big thing that tipped off the investigation was the high power bill the building suddenly had.
"It was one of the factors, definitely... and you put that one small factor together with a bunch of other factors and it adds up," Oakes said.
But that bust was not the end of the story.
Officers also found edibles at the home of one of the men who was arrested, Zachery Pierson. Those were found when police searched his home, and there was a lot found.
"It was over 96-hundred grams, which translates to about 20 pounds," Oakes said.
Now Pierson and Scott Foster are each being held on a $200,000 bond. They both face charges of manufacturing, delivering and possessing marijuana. Pierson also faces an additional charge. That is aggravated unlawful use of a weapon as well as armed violence.
This serves as a warning to anyone else who tries something similar.
"All of the law enforcement agencies out there are working hard to crack down on similar operations in violation of the law, it will not be tolerated," First Assistant for the State's Attorney Dan Wright said.