On Friday, police searched a Wood-stock area home and found 13 pounds of suspected marijuana, almost $5,800 in cash, guns and a large collection of exotic animals, including a tegu, a reptile that is illegal to own in the United States, police said.
Phil Price, commander of the Cherokee Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad, said 10 pounds of the marijuana is believed to have been shipped to the house on Creekbend Drive from California, which makes the house the second to receive such a package this month. The first bust was at the home of a 66-year-old retiree outside Canton, where CMANS officers say they found more than 40 pounds of marijuana.
Like the last case, Price said agents were able to track the most recent marijuana package across the country, through the shipping company.
Some of the other discoveries, though, hadn’t been expected by the officers, particularly the unusual animal collection.
Among the menagerie were a number of birds, snakes, common squirrels and the tegu, which is a large lizard, Price said. Tegus are native to South America and are banned in the United States due to their aggressive nature and potential negative impact on the ecosystem. They can reach four feet in length and are known to eat small animals.
Price added squirrels are also illegal to domesticate.
Three residents of the house near Highway 92 were charged in Friday’s search. Marlena Shae Darby, 19, and Matt Quinn, 20, were charged with marijuana trafficking and drug possession charges, police said.
Kurt Steven Wisehart, 25, was charged with possession of cocaine and hashish. Darby and Wisehart are being held at the Cherokee jail and Quinn is at large, Price said.
The suspected marijuana, and hashish and pills also found, were packaged for redistribution, the commander said.
The Cherokee Marshal’s Office and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources will be working with federal authorities to decide what to do about the illegal creatures.
“Additional charges may come out of the possession of the tegu and some of the other animals,” Price said.