Santa Fe County sheriff’s deputies say they stumbled upon a “very extensive and professional” marijuana plantation in a home off West Alameda Street on Tuesday afternoon.
John Floyd Higgins III, 54, was arrested on a charge of distributing marijuana after deputies found 60 to 70 plants inside his home, a criminal complaint states.
Court documents say Deputy Tracy Baca was trying to serve a subpoena on another area resident at about 1:37 p.m. when someone inside the home at 2835 W. Alameda St. threw a kitchen table at a front window, causing it to shatter.
Deputy Baca called for backup, according to Lt. William Pacheco, and three other deputies arrived on scene.
“It remains unclear if Mr. Higgins broke his window to scare Deputy Baca away or if it was just bad timing on his part,” Pacheco said.
The arrest statement says deputies waited 20 minutes before Higgins appeared at the front door and they detained him. Pacheco said Wednesday that after deputies made sure there was no one else in the house, a search warrant was authorized.
Once inside, Sgt. Jose Rodriguez reported, he could smell a strong odor of marijuana and saw several “alternate light sources” and gardening equipment. Rodriguez also wrote that he found several small seedlings in a laundry room before noticing that the garage had been converted into a sort of greenhouse.
“The garage contained two large rain barrels full of water and I could hear a high capacity fan,” Rodriguez wrote. “The garage appeared to be sectioned off into four rooms.”
In one room, Rodriguez found more lights and gardening equipment. In the next three rooms, Rodriguez wrote, he found numerous 3- to 4-foot-tall marijuana plants. “All four rooms had alternate light sources, water irrigation systems, ventilation, humidifiers and fans,” Rodriguez wrote. “I also noticed four large bottles of compressed carbon dioxide outside the rooms.
Pacheco described the scene as “very extensive and professional” and said there was a drying room with numerous plants hanging from the ceiling.
According to the arrest statement, Higgins was renting the house from Josie Lucero. The document states that Lucero, who owns the local business Emmanuel Picture Frames, did not want to file charges against Higgins for breaking the window. Lucero did not return phone calls made to her business Wednesday.
Higgins does not have a criminal history in New Mexico, according to court records.
During an arraignment Wednesday, Santa Fe County Magistrate Richard Padilla ordered a $10,000 surety bond for Higgins. Higgins, who appeared in a wheelchair via closed-circuit television from the Santa Fe County jail, did not enter a plea.
Contact Nico Roesler at 986-3089 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @nicoroesler.