Members of the Harford County Task Force arrested two Forest Hill residents Monday after they found marijuana plants growing outside and inside their house, as well as suspected cocaine, numerous weapons that included a sub-machine gun and paperwork evident of alleged money laundering and cash "hidden ... throughout the United States," charging documents state.
After searching the house and property in the 2300 block of Putnam Road, task force members said they arrested Patrick W. Miller, 28, and Vanessa Lynn Corona, 29, and charged them with drug possession with intent to distribute, manufacturing drugs, possession of a large amount of drugs, narcotics possession with intent to distribute, use of a firearm in a drug trafficking crime and manufacturing a large amount of drugs, the charging documents state.
Miller and Corona were taken to the Harford County Detention Center, where they were released after each posted $750,000 bond. Harford County Sheriff's Office Capt. Lee Dunbar, who leads the task force, said the arrests are part of an ongoing investigation and declined to comment further.
Police had seen the marijuana plants, "from a legal location," the charging documents state, on or near the property and, after speaking with Miller and Corona as part of their investigation, obtained a search and seizure warrant during which a "significant amount of evidence" was recovered.
Outside in a field, detectives found the 55 marijuana plants that were "well-manicured and cared for," according to the charging documents, and a clear vehicle/foot path led from the house to the growing site.
Police estimated each plant could produce up to one pound of marijuana, "for a total of 55 pounds. This is far more than a user could consume in a reasonable period of time," the charging documents state.
The street value of the marijuana was estimated at $157,000.
Eight smaller marijuana plants, also being "well cared for," according to charging documents, were found in a grow-room inside the house. In the basement around the room was plant food, soil and pots, "all consistent with the growing equipment observed," according to the charging documents.
Detectives also found 670 grams of suspected cocaine, valued at about $67,000, according to charging documents, as well as multiple ounces of cutting agents, scales and bags.
"This indicates that once the cutting agents would be added to the cocaine, the volume would be increased, further raising the monetary value," charging documents state.
Weapons also were seized during the search, including two loaded 9 mm pistols, one in a drawer in the master bedroom and one in the living room "where it could be easily accessed," a 12-guage shotgun with a pistol grip and an MP5 style sub-machine gun which, when it was tested by detectives, appeared to be operable "in a fully automatic capacity," according to charging documents.
The property had an extensive security camera system, including a motion sensor that would alert if someone drove up the long driveway to the house, the documents state.
Miller and Corona told police they were unemployed, which "was inconsistent with the significant volume of high-dollar items located throughout the house," including watches, sunglasses, purses, clothing, jewelry, luxury vehicles and musical instruments "worth hundreds of thousands of dollars," the charging documents state.
Most of their monthly expenses were paid in cash, which "indicated a large reserve of currency," detectives determined from receipts they found, according to the charging documents. They also found evidence that Miller was the owner of what police characterized as a shell company, allegedly "used by drug dealers as channels to launder money and to give the appearance of maintaining actual employment," the documents said.
Detectives also found that Miller allegedly has numerous fraudulent identities, stolen firearms and "large amounts of U.S. currency hidden in other locations throughout the United States," according to charging documents.
Neither Miller nor Corona could be reached for comment. As of Thursday afternoon, neither had an attorney appearance entered in the case, according to online court records.
This story has been updated to reflect a correction in the amount of cocaine seized, 670 grams.