When Columbus Police Department's Special Operations Unit seized more than $30,000 worth of marijuana at a Fleetwood Drive grow operation Saturday, a 33-year-old suspect informed agents that they were taking God's property, according to court testimony.
James Pinter faced manufacture of marijuana charges during a Monday morning Recorder's Court hearing.
His parents 68-year-old Alexander Pinter and 69-year-old Louise Pinter were released on bond for the same charges.
Friday, the Special Operations Unit received permission from Judge William Rumer to execute a search warrant at the 3007 Fleetwood Drive address, which they had been investigating for some months. The operation paid off Saturday when agents discovered eight marijuana plants, loose marijuana, grow lights, watering systems and other tools commonly used in growing marijuana.
The majority of the drug related material, including seven of the eight plants, were found in a bedroom with an attached bathroom. The last plant was found growing outside of the house.
After the Pinters were detained, James told agents that his parents were unaware of his growing activities. Later statements seemed to contradict that assertion, however. An agent told the court that James later said Alexander ran over one plant with a lawnmower after it was discovered. James' father also is accused of warning his son to only smoke inside the home.
"(James) told us that God told him to grow the marijuana, and that the plants belonged to Him," an agent told the court.
Judge Michael Cielinski set James' bond at $50,000. The agent told the court that more charges may be pending for the Pinters.