Over $1 million worth of pot discovered during house fire in Mathews County

Posted at 8:32 PM, Apr 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-24 20:32:17-04

Mathews Co., Va. - Officials in Mathews County say they made quite a startling discovery while putting out a house fire in the Cobbs Creek area on Tuesday.  While fighting flames, they found over $1 million of marijuana on the second floor of the home according to the Mathews County Sheriff's Office.

This all happened at a home on Buckley Hall Rd. at 1:08 p.m.

Kenneth M. Putt, 48, has been charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana and manufacturing.

Sheriff Mark Barrick tells NewsChannel 3 that the estimated value of the grow is $1,056,000 and 352 marijuana plants were discovered on the second-floor of the home.

"Each room upstairs had an elaborate setup of PVC pipe and irrigation system, ventilation and heating and light," Barrick explained.

Sheriff Barrick says his investigators has received tips about drug activity at the house earlier this year.

"We had previously received intelligence on this address on the first part of the year. We had actually done surveillance operations there," Barrick explained.

However, it wasn't until the fire that investigators were able to piece together what was going on.

Barrick says that fire may have been started by Putt accidentally.

"Witnesses had seen him outside prior to the fire with a propane torch actually burning weeds and grass from around the foundation of the house and we believe that’s how the house caught on fire," Barrick explained.

Members from the Tri-Rivers Drug Taskforce assisted with processing and collecting evidence on Tuesday.