|Photo: Huntington, W.Va. Police Department|
|This is what the cops described as a “sophisticated marijuana factory.” Guess they don’t get out much.|
A former voice for a drug-free workplace pleaded guilty Friday to “trafficking medical grade marijuana,” reports Curtis Johnson at the Huntington Herald-Dispatch.
Wendall Searls, 56, admitted in court Friday that he grew “medical grade” marijuana for himself, family and friends.
Huntington, W.Va., police called the grow operation a “marijuana factory” when they raided the house in September. They said they found more than 100 cannabis plants in a sophisticated indoor facility. Police said they believed Searls owned the grow house, but lived with his fiancée in Putnam County.
Just months before the bust, Searls appeared in anti-drug commercials for the Affiliated Construction Trades Foundation. The commercial appeared on television and YouTube to promote the “drug free workplace” message.
“Nobody wants to work next to anybody whose judgment is impaired by drugs or alcohol,” Searls said in the ad. “We don’t just talk a drug-free work force. We do something about it. The union work force is a drug-free work force.”
Affiliated Construction Trades quickly pulled the ad off the air after Searls’ arrest. Stan White, director of the ACT, said his organization was shocked and disappointed.
Cabell Circuit Judge Dan O’Hanlon accepted Searls’ guilty plea after Searls permitted the Cabell County Prosecutor’s Office to bypass the grand jury, thus allowing him to plead guilty to a “criminal information” instead of indictment.