- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 5, 2014

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Police removed 209 marijuana plants from a Rutland house where they were responding to a water leak that came from a broken irrigation hose for the plants.

The house was “basically retrofitted for growing” marijuana, and the setup might have cost thousands of dollars, Sgt. Matthew Prouty said.

Police accidentally discovered the grow operation. The property was not under surveillance and is located in a neighborhood considered safe, according to Prouty.

“This was not on our radar; this was a complete fluke that we happened upon it,” Prouty said Wednesday.

A neighbor noticed a lot of water leaking from the second floor of the house. Police responding to the call on Tuesday discovered the leak came from an extensive growing system and multi-floor ventilation system. Prouty said he had never seen a grow operation so sophisticated in the city limits. Most large marijuana farms are kept in rural areas that are less conspicuous, he said.

Police are not ruling out any possibility, but the plants are more likely connected to an out-of-state drug operation than a Rutland-based drug ring, Prouty said.

The plants were initially taken to the police station’s lobby, but the smell became an issue for employees. “It took a little while for our air quality to clear up,” Prouty said. The plants are now being stored in a secure containment device.

Police said the property is owned by a New York-based management company and the home itself is a rental. They are not releasing the name of the management company. Prouty declined to identify the tenants or say whether they would face charges.

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