SARDIS, W.Va. — A Harrison County man has been arrested on felony drug charges after authorities seized 234 marijuana plants from his farm.

Howard Hickey Jr. was found operating an illicit marijuana grow on his farm in Sardis after a search warrant was executed by the Harrison County Street Crimes and Drug unit, the Sheriff’s Departments SWAT team, Patrol Deputies and members of the Natural Resources Police on Thursday.

SCAD seized 234 marijuana plants, eight firearms, weighing scales and other items associated with marijuana cultivation.

The seized marijuana plants have a street value of $2,000 each and –if they were allowed to grow to maturity– could potentially produce a pound of consumable marijuana per plant, meaning authorities potentially brought in $468,000 worth of plants.

A tip about the operation two weeks prior to the arrest alerted SCAD Deputies, who then began a convert surveillance on the marijuana fields and eventually filmed Hickey tending the marijuana plants.

Once it was confirmed Hickey was the sole operator, the search warrant was obtained and executed.

Hickey is in custody and has been charged with two felony counts; Cultivation of Marijuana and Possession of Marijuana with intent to cultivate.

He was taken before Harrison County Magistrate Warren Davis where his bond was set at $100,000 cash.

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  • Tina

    Heroin bust great news, Hickey bust not good. Really, the Hickey guy offense harms no one, keeps the money here not Pittsburg, But what the heroin dealers get 4 yrs. Hickey will lose everything. Next thing you know persons from city council and friends will be hunting on his land, building lil get aways. All bad. Wondering how many of the anti-pot folks are on "prescription DRUGS"?

  • Tina

    And keeping it in WV

  • Tina

    Hi me,
    I must agree with Mr. Kennedy. I have proof it doesn't lead to stronger drugs. Also there are proven facts that it helps with many health problems. To name a few epilepsy, eating disorders, insomnia, anxiety, eye disorders and pain. This verses what anti-depressants, sleeping pills, death from starvation, hard core epilepsy drugs, anxiety meds like zanax all have side effects much worse than effects of marijuana

  • Mr. Nice Guy

    Research has proven that marijuana smoke does not have the same effect on the lungs as tobacco does. It's obvious that the issue here is not the harmful effects of marijuana, compared to alcohol. Alcohol kills more people in one day than marijuana has since the begining of time. It doesn't take a genius to see that, many of those killed are innocent bystanders or children who have never taken a "drink" in their lives.
    So what's it "really" about?

  • Mr. Nice Guy

    @ rock solid
    While my statistics may not be exact, they do hold some merit. You don't know me or where I live so for you to comment on my intelligence and say that it's no wonder I live in West Virginia is not only an insult to your intelligence, but also a insult to the great state of West Virginia.
    I'm not sure if you dont understand the statistics that I've posted, or you just don't want to believe them. A simple google search will show that on average 30, deaths each year can be directly attributed to the consumption of alchohol (the actual numbers may be higher.) That's just in the United States. I might also add that West Virginia has the highest death rate from prescription medications in the US. Never has there been recorded one death from an overdose of marijuana.

  • Greenbriergreen

    Moco man just for your personal info I am and allways have been employed.
    8 year vet from U.S.N.
    currently employed as a Biomedical Tech.
    Likely supporting your disability ridding riding but alond the way.

  • me

    All the pot smokers and your land of the free. Feel free to move to a state that legalize your "cannabis" I'm sure you could find a job there. Its a proven fact that its leads to other drug use. I see it everyday. Put the bowl down. Its making you look like a fool

  • me


  • RDC

    Green, " Pot is just a stepping stone to more drug use. "
    Is this from the extensive research you have done on the issue, or is this just you spouting the BS that's been fed to you. Get your nose out of other people's lives and just live your own.

  • David Kennedy

    Times change and the social mores of a community change.
    This issue of pot use needs consideration and wisdom.
    I believe its for the greater good that it be legalized.
    The use of the tax resources of our police and courts demand it.
    We need the police to apprehend real criminals not our next door neighbors.
    My neighbors, btw, are good people and good workers, have held full time jobs for years and each weekend I see them having friends and family over for a burger and later, a smoke...that's their business.
    Not a crime, to me anymore...we need to change the laws.

  • rock solid

    @ mr. nice guy: You must br higher than a kite! 30,ooo to 0 alcohol to pot deaths? You are brain dead and don't even know it. No wonder you are in WVa. Too stupid to be anywhere else!

  • rock solid

    @moco man: That is the problem with the whole state. If you are not on drugs, you are on welfare. Have to get enough money to buy heroin. Don't have the skills to get a real job, just get into the drug trade. No other jobs left in WVa anyway. Just puff away and watch the state go swirling down the toilet while your asshole legislature grabs all they can get and to hell with what used to be a great state. It's our BAD, can't find anyone to help in Charleston, they are too stupid to get progressive. Just more of the same old crap our politicians have been vomiting at the populus for decades. If they all fell off of a cliff it would be one of the greatest days in WVa. history.

  • Tyrone

    Oh yea it is a gate way drug ....(lol) yesterday was my first time i tried smoking pot.. Today i am am putting heroin in my veins what a false statement gateway drug is alcohol and we all know that

  • Tyrone

    So true till they are mature they are not worth anything..And how many of those plants were male and how many female .. So any one with any knowledge about this plant knows that every bust they make like this one is not a true story. The female plant is the only good plant all the male plants are worthless. But when they add up the cash value they act like every plant is a female when they are not .What a joke it is any way why waste money and time on this it should be legal

  • ViennaGuy

    Is that not what I said?

  • MOCO man

    @ Greenbriargreen...........surely must be an East flunkie..........the job of police officers is to rid of all dope, not to pick and choose. If you could read, you would see where GBR Co. Deputies bust meth labs on the West end rather often. Pot is just a stepping stone to more drug use. If you would go get a decent job you would understand the importance of being clean and being able to function with a clear that being ignorant? Get off welfare and go pass a drug screen and get a fricken job..........

  • Jason412


    You certainly can, and have the choice, to eat and smoke all the poison ivy you want.

    If you decide to eat poison ivy, should we tarnish your record so that for the rest of your life you can't find a good job? Or should we chalk it up as a stupid mistake that hurt no one but yourself?

  • David Kennedy

    93 out of 100 2014 college graduates smoked pot.
    Pot is called a 'victimless crime.
    I see the victim of this crime as being the 'grower.

    It's time to join Colorado and Washington in legalizing this weed and stop wasting the time and money of the police.
    I'm wondering if it will release prior offenders when pot is made legal. Giving some room in our prison for real criminals.
    I'm not a pot smoker and never will be, but enough insanity is enough.

  • Make it legal

    What a wast of time, it should be legal and law enforcement should be after all the thieves, pill heads and meth labs. Street value $480,000, what a joke, theses cops are all going to be on comp for sore hands after patting each other on the back. Squirrels and deer will feel a little safer now that those hunting rifles and a muzzle loader are out of action

    Go after real criminals not farmers!

  • GregG

    I couldn't agree more conchop. They could go after the meth makers and pill pusher.......but doing that would cut into the profits of big business. Can't be doing that!!! Makes for better headlines to go after a person that is growing something in their back yard for free.

  • 2XLPatriot

    $2,000 a plant???!!! Damn! I just may put my raised beds and garden to other use than growing vegetables. That's a retirement plan right there!

  • conchop

    All his property will be forfeited - a real bastardization of American freedom. If he was a Wall St. Banker that just made off with a zillion bucks, he'd be given a pass. If he was the Governors brother, who knows, maybe he'd get Manchin's old car ...

  • conchop

    I said it in another comment and I'll say it to you too: why don't we send you the BILL for this enforcement action. I'm getting pretty damned tired of spending my tax dollars on this stupid, idiotic, and UN AMERICAN Cannabis prohibition. I'd rather my tax dollars go to education, healthcare, infrastructure, and other successful American endeavors ...

  • conchop

    It just makes it look like they busted John Dillinger's great grand son - good for the press ...

  • conchop

    Its all cannabis - just depends on the cultivar ...

  • conchop

    Here's a thought - why don't we send you the BILL for this enforcement action. I'm getting pretty damned tired of spending my tax dollars on this stupid, idiotic, and UN AMERICAN Cannabis prohibition. I'd rather my tax dollars go to education, healthcare, infrastructure, and other successful American endeavors ...

  • nick

    God put poison ivy on this planet as well, does that mean we can eat and smoke it

  • nick

    when your buzz wears off you may want to change the 0 on your chart as we can be certain that inhaling non filtered smoke over a long term is deadly. also driving under the influence of marijuana is just as deadly as driving under the influence of alcohol

  • Greenbriergreen

    "Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise."

  • conchop

    Ever since this idiotic Cannabis Prohibition began, over 24 million Americans have been hauled off to jail. That would fill up a Super Bowl Stadium 460 times. Thats an awful lot of money spent on trying to eradicate a plant that Washington, Jefferson, and Adams grew by the ton. Thats an awful lot of lives ruined by our Government for a beneficial plant that never killed or hurt anybody. WV has thousands of prisoners, sleeping on the jail house floor, and it looks like Howard Hickey Jr. is off to join them.

    You know, when you consider our State Motto, [ something about always free ] and compare it to our past years Super Bowl Teams home States, you can easily come to the conclusion that we're not so FREE at all. Had this farm been located in WA or CO, this entire episode would be nothing. The real irony is Cannabis is the largest CASH CROP in WV and has been for some time. Our State's economy would completely crash if enforcement managed 100% eradication.

    If any of you hidebound prohibitionists would actually review peer reviewed science, you'd find the human body is actually equipped with an endo-cannabinoid system that responds quite well to the medicinal effects of marijuana. When Washington, Jefferson, and Adams wrote of "India Hemp" being a "GIFT OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE", it looks like they had a point. God Forbid one of your friends or loved ones come down with some ghastly disease that cannabis will cure or remedy, and you know full well you stood against it when you see them squealing and squalling in agony. Some of you jack asses seem quite satisfied with seeing some peoples ancestors rotting in a hospital bed while cannabis growers rot in jail.

    A lot of you hidebound Bible thumper prohibitionists might learn a thing or two about cannabis in the Bible if you'd research "Kaneh-Bosem" in some of the translations - did you ever wonder what was in the anointing oil??? Funny how healers used things that were natural back in the day. Makes you wonder what Moses and Jesus would recommend that you use to heal your ill friends and family. Of course, some of you Bible Thumping jack asses would be afraid they'd actually enjoy it.

    We spend 52 BILLION DOLLARS a year on this FAILED WAR ON DRUGS in this nation so there are 52B reasons why they don't want to change it. That money is spoken for. Many industries will not make their yearly bonuses when they have to face the full competitive effects of Cannabis Production. But in reality, their profits and bonuses are insignificant when compared to the power of nature and the essence of being a free American.

    The Cannabis laws are changing in this Nation and around the world. Hopefully, Howard Hickey Jr. and his property will be one of the last casualties of this draconian and ruthless prohibition. Many Americans are seeing this as the worst public policy disasters in our Nation's history. The Reparations you Prohibitionists face will be just as ruthless as the crimes against humanity and nature you have perpetuated on the American public.

    It will be a long time before anyone else in American history tries to defy the forces of nature and American freedom again ....

  • leroy

    there is stoned driving which has caused deaths, you cant tell me that someone blitzed out on pot can drive a car very well

  • leroy

    its bad enough no one in this state can pass a drug test to get a job

  • leroy

    quit demanding the narcotics and maybe the doctors will stop prescribing it, americans are a bunch of pussies. cant stand a little pain, wayyyyy!!

  • Greenbriergreen

    Well MOCO man it looks like you are showing how inorgant minds work!
    The only thing I see happening is a waste of tax dollers on something petty while pills and heroine take over.

  • Mr. Nice Guy

    It's even more amazing to see how many ignoramuses there are out there that don't see the difference between 30,000 killed by alcohol and 0 by marijuana, but alcohol is still legal because it's a very lucrative business
    don't knock it till you've tried it

  • MOCO man

    Apparently the are worth two thousand apiece as is.........and could have produced a pound of consumable pot per plant. Thank you deputies for removing this crap before it hits the streets.........maybe he should have spent his time in the garden growing produce. With all of the support on here for this drug dealer it's no wonder WV is statistically last in everything. Maybe if people spent more time being productive instead of being high on pills and dope, we could improve..........thank you deputies for a job well done!!! That was money well spent.........

  • Jonesy

    So what you are saying is that if only the whole world would just smoke dope that there would be an end to hate, predjudice, war and death. What are we waitning for? You have discovered the saviour of the world! NOT!

  • MOCO man

    It is amazing how many dope head supporting people are on here. Guns go right along with illegal drug activity. He is cultivating what would have been nearly half a million dollar crop. No one commenting on here knows if dude was carrying during his trips to work his crop. Pot is just a stepping stone to more drug use and illegal activity. Great job to all of the officers involved. That IS what you are paid to do..........

  • longbeards

    What a waste of tax dollars. WV Should legalize it and tax it!! I believe there is strong support for that in WV!! One has only to look at the war on drugs to see it has failed and been a total waste of tax payer dollars!!

  • GregG

    I would just like to know how much tax payer dollars have been spent just to arrest this man and how much more will be spent in court cost, jail etc...

  • BossIlluminati

    the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING! 13

    ENLIGHTENMENT...i was a brainwashed evil, mean, christian conservative until i tried it at 17 years old...i hated gays, immigrants, women's rights, blacks, marijuana, i was Rush Limbaugh's #1 fan....until i smoked marijuana, changed the world....hope the EVIL POPE is enjoying the marijuana revolution around the globe, keeping the flock brainwashed and against marijuana, gays, and women's don't deny ease from pain and suffering for billions of people unless you are PURE EVIL...

    1000s of my friends and family have grown 30-99 plants for 20 years, thanks for keeping prices high and NORCAL wealthy...#1 crop in cali = $15 Billion Untaxed...

    "any doctor against marijuana is a doctor of death" - cali secret 420

    from 0 states to half the country, from low 20% approval to almost 70%, cali runs this planet by 2 decades, time to tie marijuana to the 2014, 2016 elections, out with the old, in with the new

    20 years behind us southern states and NEW YORK (CBD=Can't Be Done), sad and scary....nobody denies freedoms like the south, nobody…the top ten incarcerators on the planet are southern states and more blacks are in prison then were slaves before the civil war...even if marijuana reforms did pass the republiCANTS in charge would deny you all your freedoms, centuries of matter though, we never planned on getting your backwards brethren from day one, half the country already but not one southern state, lol...not 1….the new generations are taking over in the south and they are nothing like their freedom denying parents, let’s ride…

    Deaths by Alcohol: Millions
    Deaths by Tobacco: Millions

    Deaths by Prescription Drugs: Quadrupled in last decade
Deaths by Guns: Millions
Deaths by the food we are fed: Millions
Deaths by Marijuana: 0, ever...they are killing my American family while denying freedom

    love and freedom forever


  • Bill

    I'll never understand why law enforcement always make a big deal out of confiscating guns when making pot bust. Do they do the same for DUI's? I think they have to justify their existance as a drug eratification unit.

  • Jason412

    The main difference in WV, besides obvious potency, is hemp is legal to grow and possess.

  • Jason412

    It makes for a better picture. Adding 8 guns to the picture sure helps sell that this guy is a "dangerous criminal".

    It's not like Harrison County is being flooded with an influx of heroin, and gang bangers, from Pittsburgh. I can see why the police would not only take the time to catch this guy, but actually set up surveillance. They certainly couldn't have spent that time any better by catching an actual dangerous drug dealer

  • thatwasgraphic

    Just legalize marijuana already. Regulate and tax it. I’ve heard people say for decades that it is our state’s number one cash crop. The state badly needs new industry to replace coal and other extractive industries. Allow law enforcement to concentrate on meth and prescription drug abuse and quit posting silly images of some guy’s hunting rifle collection and pretending he is a hardened criminal.

  • Cigarman

    The plants aren't worth a dime until they mature!

  • Hillbilly

    It looks like they are getting a head start on the Gateway Drug .

  • ViennaGuy

    What makes you think that they're NOT busting meth labs?

  • ViennaGuy

    - That's right George Washington grew pot, but they called it hemp (May have been a little different) -

    Smoking hemp won't get you high, so I'd say there's a big difference.

    Hemp and pot are related, but different.

  • Matthew

    I don't see the relevance of the firearms. Those are the same that you would expect to find in any West Virginian that hunts. I have nearly the same types in my house and I don't grow pot, do drugs, or anything illegal.

  • Bob Smithers

    " Plants could potentially produce a pound each" ? Never gonna happen folks,only in very rare instances.2 ounces,cut and dry,from a mature plant is about the average for a outdoor grown plant in WV.More government bs.Take it from a former farmer.

  • David

    The real value of the plants pales in comparison to the amount of money the police wasted on this.

    Besides this man was actually creating economic activity instead of just sucking tax dollars from hardworking people's wallets.

  • David

    If it was the governors brother growing this weed they wouldn't have bothered with it.

    They overvalue the stuff to make headlines sensational.

    Look at the guns! They all a bunch of old guns grandpa had!

    I'm surprised Goodwin didn't get his big head in the picture!

  • David Kennedy

    Why would they take this man's gun collection? Just a few good pieces...all of it for hunting and even a black powder squirrel rifle.
    None are military style weapons that would be used for defending a pot farm.
    I hope this man gets his personal property back...but branded as a felon after this is all over...I'm sure the Judge and the lawyers will divide them up.

  • Fred

    Good luck, Howard!

  • Cynara

    Well, don't we all feel so much safer now. \sarcasm

    I'm sure the police will be glad to burn the captured plants.


    What a joke dope is dope but the government wants to control it so they can find a way to pocket money!! I say get rid of all forms of dope / drugs. & harsh jail time foe anyone who is caught with it!!! hang the bastards!!!

  • Ridiculous

    The government is supposed to be for the people, by the people. Based on the only comments so far, I'd say we are headed in the wrong direction. Go after the docs giving prescription pills and meth labs.....what a waste of tax dollars- most those guns are probably used for hunting.....guess some cop got his 15 minutes of fame though

  • MOCO man

    Sorry folks, last time I checked........growing pot is against the law. This dude made the decision to take a chance by growing an illegal drug.........go to prison dude. Hopefully it will never be legal in this state. Just what we need, more people high on pot to go with the pill heads and the meth users...........

  • Mr. Nice Guy

    84 "shake n bake" meth labs, now that's a whole different story that stuff destroys peoples lives. We need to focus on heroine, cocaine, and meth' not plants
    Ok I feel better now that I got that off my chest

  • Mr. Nice Guy

    I would also like to add, that it should not be used around children, just like beer, wine , and liqueur it can, and should be used responsibly

  • Mr. Nice Guy

    The founding fathers of our country also grew marijuana. That's right George Washington grew pot, but they called it hemp (May have been a little different) but still pot.
    It even sounds funny when you think about it, police "convertly" watching a guy tending to PLANTS and arresting him. They're just plants people. Get over it!

  • Mr. Nice Guy

    Get with the times, Mary Jane is legal in two states already with more in the way. This is a crime without a victim, where the punishment is much worse than the actual crime, and it's a waste of taxpayer dollars. Marijuana is less intoxicating than alchohol by far. There are an estimated 30,000 alchohol related deaths each year, but not one marijuana related death (that's quite a difference.) The only reason it's not totally legal is because the "man" can't regulate and tax it as easily as alchohol. A grown man should be able to make the choice as to wether or not they should smoke marijuana. God put plants on the earth for man to use as he sees fit. Life liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, it's the American way

  • northforkfisher

    They were using a plane to search the mountains around here today. The plane made trips up and down both sides of the river.

  • Jim N Charleston

    Government picking on another farmer. #1 Cash Crop in WV. Willie and Farm Aid did it for farmers just like this.

    Another farmer will lose it all.

    I'm Jim N Daytona Beach

  • checkyourwords

    Sorry to nit-pick but the word "covert" should have been used instead of "convert" when talking about the surveillance on the fields.

  • any major dude

    I guess there's no felony charge for the firearms because they were never used in the commission of this crime. Bet he doesn't get them back though....

  • Tom

    What a waste of resources , go get. Meth labs. It's a Weed

  • Savage

    Looks like we have a new head of the prison gardens.