Earlier this month the U.S. Forestry Service initiated an investigation after discovering three plots of marijuana growing on U.S. government property in Liberty Township in the vicinity of Coon Run Road in Lower Salem.
Utilizing surveillance equipment, the forestry service identified the suspect as Robert J. Steers, age 58, 1770 Coon Run Road, Lower Salem. Steers owns 49.5 acres of property adjacent to the government land where the marijuana plots were located and forestry agents located an ATV trail from Steers' property to the marijuana plants.
On Tuesday, forestry service agents and agents of the Major Crimes Task Force executed a search warrant at Steers' residence and discovered approximately 2,000 grams of marijuana, fertilizer, garden sprayers, bamboo stakes, fencing, Miracle Grow, twine and drug paraphernalia.
Additionally, agents located items of clothing they observed Steers wearing while he tended to the marijuana plants.
At the locations of three marijuana plots agents observed that all the plants except one had been harvested. Along with the single remaining plant, agents recovered a five gallon bucket containing marijuana.
Steers was arrested for a third-degree felony charge of illegally cultivating marijuana and transported to the Washington County Jail. Steers appeared in Marietta Municipal Court and remains incarcerated in lieu of $15,000 bond.
The Major Crimes Task Force is a multi-faceted organization composed of representatives from the Marietta Police Departments; the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification and the Morgan and Washington County Prosecuting Attorney and Sheriff's Offices.