A Bell Acres man was arrested early today after search dogs, chasing prowlers in a Franklin Park neighborhood, led police to a rented house where marijuana plants were growing.
"We found a very sophisticated marijuana grow house," said Franklin Park Police Chief Don Dorsch. "It's the biggest operation like this that I've ever seen out here."
The suspect, Edward Lindsey, 33, of Fern Hollow Road in Bell Acres, was awaiting arraignment this morning on charges of possession and possession with intent to deliver the controlled substance, and manufacture of the drug.
Police found more than 100 plants at the house Mr. Lindsey rented at the corner of Nicholson Road and Wharrey Drive in Franklin Park.
Officers and SWAT agents were led to the grow house after a resident on Locust Street called police to report prowlers in his neighborhood around 12:30 a.m. today.
The resident called 911, and he went to confront the suspected prowlers, who fled into a heavily wooded area nearby.
The resident told police one of the suspects appeared to have been armed with a semi-automatic pistol.
With help from police K-9 patrols from Evans City, the suspects were tracked through the woods to the house at Nicholson and Wharrey, where officers saw a light on in the basement.
When police announced their presence, the light went out, but no one inside responded to commands to surrender.
A clothes dryer also was operating at the grow house as officers noticed the exhaust blowing outside, Chief Dorsch said.
The SWAT agents were dispatched from the North Hills, forced entry to the house, including use of tear gas canisters, and found the plants.
Seedlings were growing on the first floor of the residence, and full grown plants were found in the basement, Chief Dorsch said.
The property owner led police to Mr. Lindsey, who rented the house.
Police had not determined this morning whether the suspected prowlers were involved in the marijuana house operation, although their scents led the police dogs there.
The investigation is continuing.