BALL MAN SENTENCED FOR GROWING/SELLING MARIJUANA
ALEXANDRIA, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that Sidney Earl Wheeler III, 33, of Ball, La., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dee D. Drell to 24 months in prison and four years supervised release for manufacture and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, authorities received an anonymous tip that someone in a Ball, La., residence might be growing marijuana plants in a building behind a home. After conducting surveillance of the residence and obtaining a search warrant, authorities discovered two hidden rooms in the building behind the house on June 7, 2012. The rooms contained marijuana plants in various growth stages as well as equipment and materials used to cultivate marijuana. Inside the house, hydrocodone, an AK-47 and ammunition were found. Authorities found more than 100 marijuana plants on the property. At the time of the search, Wheeler was found in the building and was arrested. Wheeler pleaded guilty March 4, 2013.
"This defendant’s drug production and distribution operation was a violation of the law,” Finley stated. “This illegal activity was uncovered thanks to the help of a concerned citizen and investigators who cared about this community. We hope this serves as a deterrent to those who try to profit from illegal drug production.”
The Louisiana State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Central Louisiana Gang Safe Streets Task Force conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Allison D. Bushnell prosecuted the case.