MOULTRIE, Ga. — An apparent arson on Garden Villa Drive led to the discovery of more than 200 marijuana plants early Friday morning.
Moultrie police responded to a small structure fire around 5:30 a.m. in the 1900 block of Garden Villa Drive, according to Sheriff’s Office Drug Enforcement Team Investigator Justin Searcy.
“After noticing two dogs were inside the home, MPD officer Keagan Bryson entered the home to conduct a security sweep,” said Searcy in an interview Friday afternoon.
During the initial search of the home, resident Jorge Ferando Contreas was found apparently asleep in his bed. Bryson was able to remove Contreas from the home without incident, Searcy said.
Bryson then conducted another sweep of the home trying to locate anybody else who might still be inside. During this second sweep the officer uncovered “approximately 220 marijuana plants with lighting sources, individual pots and germination boxes” in a back bedroom, Searcy said.
Neither Police Chief Sean Ladson nor Bryson was available to comment following phone calls placed by The Observer Friday afternoon.
After the Moultrie Fire Department put out the fire, DET investigators took possession of the plants and took custody of Contreas, who had been placed under arrest by the MPD.
During the MFD’s investigation, they discovered that the fire had “no ignition source and the fire began under suspicious circumstances,” according to MFD Fire Marshall Robin Lawson.
“Samples of the fire debris from the point of origin have been sent to the lab to confirm, but during the initial investigation, the fire seemed to have been caused by an outside source,” Lawson said.
Another resident of the home, Krystal Lozanor, was charged Friday with arson in the first degree. According to Searcy, investigators believe that Lozanor started the fire “after an apparent domestic dispute occurred between herself and Contreas the previous day.”
Searcy further stated that a third resident of the home witnessed this incident, during which Lozanor had allegedly pulled a knife on Contreas and threatened to stab him. According to investigators, nobody was hurt during the incident.
Contreas has been charged with manufacture of marijuana and Lozanor was charged with two counts of aggravated assault as well as arson in the first degree.