While assessing damage left behind the day after the violent storm, Sheriff Keith Byrd noticed something out of place, according to WTVD.
“So while we’re over there, over in the edge of the woods, I found a pile of green, leafy material that looked like it didn’t belong where it was,” the sheriff told the station.
As you might guess, the leafy pile was marijuana. And nearby was the wreckage of Tidwell’s destroyed mobile home. Inspecting the ruins, investigators found more plants, containers, piping, grow lights and all the paraphernalia needed for a hydroponic marijuana growing operation.
Law enforcement collected a total of about 28 pounds of marijuana from the rubble. This was no “personal use” operation. Tidwell was being sought by police in connection with the materials and faced felony charges.
Typically, police are very sympathetic to people who lose their homes in a disaster like this. Sheriff Byrd felt for Tidwell, but that didn’t change his responsibility to uphold the law, which he took very seriously.
“I’m very sympathetic to him losing his home. I mean, I feel very badly that he did,” Byrd told WTVD. “But I’m not the least bit sympathetic that he was in our county violating the law.”
Tennessee is tough on marijuana offenders. Simply growing pot is a felony subject to a fine of $5,000 to $500,000 and punishable by one to 60 years in prison, depending on the quantity.
Throw in selling, or even possession with the intent to sell, and the fine is $5,000 to $200,000 with a prison term of one to 60 years, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
Tidwell may not be on the lam much longer. An attorney claiming to represent the man contacted the Decatur County Sheriff on Thursday, saying that Tidwell planned to turn himself in soon, according to WBBJ.
Tidwell was reportedly facing charges of manufacturing marijuana and drug possession, WKRN added.
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