WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Wilmington Police Officers stumbled upon a marijuana "grow" operation recently after being called to a home to investigate a break-in, according to a spokesperson with the WPD.
Officers received a call around 2:08 p.m. Wednesday about a breaking and entering in progress in the 2300 block of Market Street.
When they arrived on scene, they met the home's resident, Dr. Sheila Cooper, an optometrist who is employed at Cooper Optometry Group at Independence Mall. Cooper said that she came home for lunch to find a back window open. When she went into the house, she heard a noise upstairs, so she went back outside and called police.
Officers searched the home for any possible intruders, and in doing so, discovered what looked to be a marijuana growing operation in Cooper's basement.
WPD officials notified the Narcotics Enforcement Unit, and detectives then secured a search warrant for the home. They then found about one pound of dried and processed marijuana in various stages of preparation, in addition to an indoor grow tent, lights, ventilation, storage containers and smoking devices.
Two long guns were also found.
Sheila Cooper, 50, and her husband, John Bailey Owen Cooper, 52, were both charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana; felony possession of marijuana; manufacture of marijuana; maintaining a dwelling for drugs; possession of drug paraphernalia.
Cooper was also charged with possession of a firearm by a felon.
Sheila Cooper was placed under $5,000 bond, while John Cooper's bond was set at $10,000.
Both have since posted and have been released.
If you have any more information about this case, you are asked to contact the WPD's Narcotics Enforcement Unit at 910-343-3689.