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2 ASU students face marijuana-grow charges

By Steve Lyttle
slyttle@charlotteobserver.com

Spring break ended unhappily this week for a pair of Appalachian State University students, who were arrested and charged with running an indoor marijuana-growing operation at the house they were renting in northern Caldwell County, authorities say.

Jordan Francois Holder and Elizabeth Marie Roden, each 23, were roommates at a house in the 5900 block of Waterfalls Road, a short distance south of the Caldwell-Watauga county line, about midway between Lenoir and Boone.

Caldwell County Sheriff Alan Jones says Holder and Roden were on spring break and not at home, when someone noticed the front door of their residence had been open for two days. Deputies went to the house to check on the well-being of the residents, Jones says.

Instead, he says, they saw a number of marijuana plants growing in the basement and in an upstairs bedroom.

Deputies got a search warrant, went through the house, and say they found 103 marijuana plants, equipment and supplies used for growing marijuana, about $1,000 in cash, and drug paraphernalia. The plants have a street value of more than a quarter-million dollars, according to investigators.

Jones says Holder was found Monday in Watauga County and arrested. Roden was located two days later in Caldwell County and taken into custody.

“This was a very elaborate set-up with the potential to generate a lot of tax-free money,” Jones says.

Each woman faces felony charges of possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana; manufacturing marijuana; and maintaining a dwelling to keep and store a controlled substance.

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