Three arrested in Lawrenceville marijuana growhouse bust

Pittsburgh police discovered upward of 300 marijuana plants in Lawrenceville this morning, which some officers said was one of the largest marijuana-growing operations found in the city in 25 years.

Officers made the discovery on the second floor of a commercial building at the intersection of Davison Street and Urbana Way after receiving a 911 call around 4 a.m. reporting suspicious activity in the area. Three men were caught in the process of burglarizing the marijuana from the apartment, which led to the discovery of the grow lab.

When officers arrived around 5 a.m., Michael Snee, 31, and Shaun Hollis, 30, were stealing bags of marijuana from the second floor, while Frederick Jeffcoat, 34, was stationed in a car with a pitbull one block away, said Pittsburgh police spokeswoman Sonya Toler.

The three men, all of whom are from McKeesport, face charges of burglary, criminal conspiracy, carrying a firearm without a license, possessing instruments of crime, and possession with intent to distribute. Mr. Jeffcoat was also arrested for driving with a suspended license. Officers sent in a K9 unit to investigate the building after the arrests, and found the grow lab.

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“We are very appreciative of that 911 caller who took it to heart to report suspicious activity,” said Ms. Toler. “What we ended up discovering was much more significant than suspicious activity.”

Nearby neighbors said they never suspected that a drug operation was being conducted on their street.

“It was a surprise. We walk by it a couple of times a week,” said Margaret Atwood, 81, of Lawrenceville.

The owner of the building and the tenants that were growing the plants could not be identified. Complete Vending Service is located on the first floor of the property, but has a separate lease, Ms. Toler said.

There is an ongoing investigation of the tenants of the property.

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Max Radwin First Published May 29, 2014 9:33 AM

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