Father, son arrested for allegedly growing pot on family land

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - By Danielle Thomas – bio | email

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A family business allegedly growing marijuana landed a Harrison County father and son in jail Wednesday morning. Sheriff's deputies charged Scotty Simmons, Senior with cultivation of marijuana, which is a felony. His son, Scotty Simmons, Junior is charged with violating his probation.

Many people move out to the countryside to get away from the noise, traffic, and crowds of city life. Sheriff Melvin Brisolara says that remoteness always attracts a criminal element. He says meth labs and pot fields are a major problem in rural areas, so his narcotics division has to stay alert.

A maze of trails through thick forest and underbrush didn't stop deputies and Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics agents from finding what they were looking for. Officials said they turned up more than 30 marijuana plants growing in small clusters over dozens of acres on Dan Warren Road.

"They ended up finding the individuals who came out here to cultivate it and we were able to make an arrest on it," said Sheriff Melvin Brisolara. "We're here today to go ahead and pull up the marijuana that they found.  I know we do have the plants before they were able to harvest them, so that's a big achievement."

Sheriff Brisolara said the drug bust is the result of a month long investigation. He said drug manufacturers seem to think they can go undetected in unincorporated areas.

"There's less chance of being located. It's not as populated as inside your cities. Plus, they have the land to do it on," the sheriff said. "So it is out in the rural parts. We just have to find it and we're very aggressive in doing that. We've been really aggressive on the meth labs also."

At the time of his arrest, Scotty Simmons, Jr. was already on probation for manufacturing meth.

"You'll always see the same people over and over again. In and out the door. It happens. We've just got to be there and be persistent. Just keep getting them in the door. Eventually the courts have enough of it and they put them away," Sheriff Brisolara said.

Deputies said their best weapon against meth labs and marijuana fields is the community.

"Tips from the citizens are helping a lot," said Sheriff Brisolara. "We're getting a lot of tips from the citizens that help us lead to these situations where we can get them resolved."

The narcotics division said one fully grown plant can produce about a pound of marijuana. They estimate the grade of marijuana found Wednesday would go for about $600 a pound on the street.

Officials say Simmons, Jr. was living in a house on the family owned property. Deputies said they found firearms in the house.

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