The arrest this week of a Marietta couple on charges related to an indoor marijuana-growing operation may only be the tip of the iceberg.
Neighbors reported Thursday having seen numerous police officers at 1322 Colegate Drive that day and for several days prior. Police Chief Brett McKitrick said officers are conducting searches in the house and outside it but declined to reveal what they are seeking. The homeowner of the rental said officers were digging in the backyard.
"There's something more involved than the pot plants," the chief said, adding that his office is working with out-of-state departments on the matter.
The Marietta Police Department is continuing an investigation at 1322 Colegate Drive after a husband and wife who lived there were arrested this week on drug charges, but not a lot of specifics are being released
EVAN BEVINS The Marietta Times
Asked directly if they were looking for a body, McKittrick said, "We're not looking for a body now."
Later, he added that there was no body found but said he could not release anything else because the investigation is ongoing. He did say the case is not related to the recent discovery of a pair of bodies in shallow graves in Noble County, at least one of whom was allegedly killed after responding to a phony job offer on the website Craigslist.
One resident of the Colegate Drive house, Patricia K. Hodges, 64, was arrested Tuesday on a felony charge of possession of drugs. The next day her husband, Marvin E. Hodges, 66, was also taken into custody on a felony drug possession count.
The couple remained in custody Thursday afternoon at the Washington County Jail on $100,000 bond each. Their next court appearance is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Wednesday in Marietta Municipal Court.
McKitrick declined to release the arrest report, again citing the open investigation.
He said officers discovered about 30 marijuana plants in an indoor growing operation.
The Washington County Sheriff's Office has assisted with the searches, but Sheriff Larry Mincks said he could not provide information on the case since the city police are the lead investigators.
The Hodgeses are tenants of the house. The owner, Jeff Ferguson, contacted The Marietta Times Thursday, saying he was unaware of why police were still searching the house. He could not be reached for comment later.
Police Capt. Jeff Waite said Ferguson is "in no way, shape or form a suspect" in the investigation.
Neighbor Chris Sullivan said he's noticed the police activity at the house but isn't overly concerned about it.
"If anything was dangerous or whatever, I think they would have let us know ... either publicly or discreetly," he said.
McKitrick said whatever police are searching for does not pose a danger to anyone.
"Just looking for some evidence," he said. "It'll become clear here soon."