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It’s been deemed the largest cannabis bust in Sunset Beach history.
On Christmas Eve, during a routine traffic stop of a Lincoln Continental speeding through town, Sunset Beach police got a whiff of something funny and followed up with a consent to search the vehicle.
Inside the trunk of the detained car, officers found seven pounds of pot vacuum-sealed in 14 separate bags. A subsequent search at a $500,000 vacation house on 28th Street on the Sunset Beach island led to discovery of an additional 25 pounds of weed, plus 26 small pot plants being cultivated in plastic cups, a grow light and heater, and drug paraphernalia.
It also brought charges of intent to sell and deliver a schedule VI substance (more commonly known by the scientific terms “marijuana” and “wacky tabacky”) against 35-year-old Howard Jason Harris of Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Sunset Beach Police Chief Lisa Massey and Deputy Chief Steve Smith say to the best of their knowledge, 32 pounds is the largest pot haul in the town’s history.
Smith said Harris wasn’t actually cultivating the plants on the island but probably brought them with him to the island house owned by his girlfriend’s kinfolk. In other words, he has friends in high places.
While an investigation continues, the Sunset Beach Police Department has custody of the multi-pounds of pot, which Massey said at Monday’s town council meeting has a street value of a quarter-million dollars.
As the town planning board convened for its monthly meeting last Thursday, town councilwoman Carol Scott remarked that the pot could be perceived all over the building.
“Can’t you smell that?” she asked.
I responded it had an aroma like bacon to me. It smelled pretty dang good and was giving me the munchies for breakfast. That’s because one of the town employees had just cooked some bacon in the town hall kitchen, someone in attendance at the meeting informed me with a chuckle.
Well, I know some stuff. With my vast cultural background that includes venturing to concerts in the 1970s that were attended by hippie types who inhaled, I’ve detected a whiff or two of what a burning “joint” smells like. I’m hip.
But I’m not as familiar with the scent of non-lit pot permeating an otherwise respectable town hall. During Monday night’s town council meeting, the scant audience who had braved the icy elements to attend were definitely exposed to the aroma of something. I thought it slightly skunky.
Nobody was really sure about the effects of unlighted pot, either. If town council started giggling or drawling ala Cheech and Chong during the night’s proceedings, we’d have our answer, along with a good headline for this week’s paper.
At Monday’s pre-agenda workshop, Scott called on fellow town officials to consider odor-control devices for the police department’s vaulted evidence room.
The town had neglected to fund such a room for storage of drugs, which Scott said would come in handy so as not to have “impact on the rest of the building.”
Someone last week said it’s a shame the hemp can’t be sold or donated for the benefit of those who need it for medicinal purposes (only).
Sooner or later, however, Smith says the pot will be destroyed upon a judge’s orders.
“It’s drugs,” he explained. “You destroy them. You don’t circulate [them].”
Eventually, Sunset Beach’s biggest drug evidence ever is going up in smoke.
Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.