|Updated: 8/21/2013 9:02 am
||Published: 8/20/2013 9:59 pm
The operation likely cost more than the home.
Inside, Mayes County deputies said they found exactly what informants told them they would: a surplus of marijuana tucked away in a trailer, behind a trapdoor.
"Voila, you open it up and there's a grow room," said Capt. Rod Howell.
Howell said the room was as big as his office. But the marijuana isn't what initially got Howell's attention.
"My heart just sunk, being a father myself," said Howell.
Deputies removed an 8-year-old girl from the home. Howell said as drug cases pile up, so do child custody issues.
"It's becoming not commonplace, but all too common," said Howell.
Deputies arrested Andrew Shepherd on Sunday. Howell said they found marijuana dangling from the ceiling of his hidden room. They also found meth pipes, and bongs along with High Times magazine.
"A blueprint on how to grow marijuana; how to succeed at cultivating marijuana," said Howell.
Howell believes Shepherd had been growing drugs in the hidden room for nearly a decade, and he'd gotten good at it. He used special growing materials to speed up the process.
"Tender love and care make the plants grow," said Howell.
Agents uncovered this in Choteau. In one sweep, they may have shortened supply in Mayes County, and beyond.
"I'm glad we got this stuff off the street and that little girl out of that environment," said Howell.
While the operation is over, the victory is short-lived. As investigators learned few knew about the hidden room for years.