Above, two suspects apprehended for a four-acre marijuana grow in Gilmer
Taken from a Drug Task Force press release
Thursday, July 19, agents with the Zell Miller Mountain Parkway Drug Task Force, along with Gilmer County deputies and other state agencies, discovered nearly four acres of marijuana during their annual marijuana flyover of a wooded area of Gilmer County not far from the Highway 136/Highway 52 area.
This grow, one of three located in the county that day, was spotted on Highway 52 East near Southern Road. The grow was spread over a three to four acre area. A tent and kitchen with fresh vegetables and other food were located on the site, as well as a bathroom, generator, bottled gas, extension cords and an irrigation system.
It was believed the grow was abandoned when the helicopter made its first flyover. In all, 12,887 marijuana plants were removed from the site. Law officers estimate the street value of the marijuana at over $15 million.
Several hours after the site was discovered, Georgia DNR Rangers spotted two Hispanic males climbing a fence approximately one-half mile from the grow. The males were detained and identified as Miguel Angel Silva of Roswell, and Angel Adrian Ramirez of Chamblee.
Following the investigation, both individuals were charged with manufacturing marijuana.
During the flyover operation, two other grow sites were located. The first site was discovered in the Tickanetley/Old Parker Place Road area. This area was examined following a tip from a homeowner in the area. All but 25 marijuana plants had been pulled from the site.
Based on the empty holes in the ground, investigators estimate that approximately 5,000 plants were growing at the site at one time. Investigators also found an abandoned campsite and several indicators of a “Mexican Grow,” the press release says.
Acting on a tip from a citizen, a third grow was located behind a residence on Brushy Top Road. As the helicopter flew over, the homeowner, later identified as John Michael Wicker, began burning the plants with gasoline.
After Wicker refused to obey a Georgia State Patrol trooper’s commands, physical force was used to take Wicker to the ground. During this incident, the trooper’s pants leg caught on fire, and he suffered burns. The trooper was later treated and released from a local hospital. Nineteen marijuana plants were seized along with two firearms.
Wicker was arrested and charged with manufacturing marijuana, tampering with evidence, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and misdemeanor obstruction.
The flyover operation was conducted in coordination with the Governor’s Task Force, which is comprised of officers from the Georgia State Patrol, Department of Corrections, Department of Natural Resources, the National Guard, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The drug task force is supported by the local sheriffs office and the office of the district attorney. If you have any information about drug activity in Pickens, Gilmer, or Fannin Counties, please call 1-866-920-6384. All calls are anonymous.