Officers discover marijuana-growing operation
A security guard patrolling outside the One Mill Run office complex, 3455 Mill Run Drive, discovered more than he expected early Thursday morning, Aug. 23.
The privately employed security guard noticed a suspicious car parked on the building's perimeter shortly before 2 a.m. and called 911.
Several hours later, Hilliard police had William E. Foldner II, 50, of Groff Place, in custody and had uncovered a marijuana-growing operation in a wooded area along the east side of Interstate 270, just south of Cemetery Road.
Foldner was charged Aug. 23 with one count of possession of drug paraphernalia and one count of cultivating marijuana, both fourth-degree misdemeanors.
He is scheduled for an initial appearance Sept. 12 in Hilliard Mayor's Court. The case could be heard or transferred to Franklin County Municipal Court.
In the call to Hilliard police, the security guard described a suspicious car parked at the back of the parking lot and reported part of a fence removed.
"It's a gray Cutlass, beat up," the security guard said. "And I hear something in the trees but I'm not going back there by myself."
Hilliard police responded to the scene and heard voices and sounds from the wooded area but did not make an immediate apprehension.
Officers were still waiting when a man, later identified as Foldner, returned to the car at about 5 a.m.
The marijuana plants were in three locations in the wooded area. They found 74 plants at the site.
"(Police) had to crawl on their stomachs to get back there," Officer Hyda Slone said.
Officers also found digging tools and fertilizer in the vehicle, she said.
Slone said officers do not believe the amount of dried leaves will exceed 200 grams.
Possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor unless the weight of the dried leaves, less stems and roots exceeds 200 grams.
Officers did not search Foldner's residence, nor are they pursing additional suspects, police said.