A western Johnston County resident called deputies last week after finding a cell phone in his front yard near the roadway. The Good Samaritan never realized turning in the phone he found would help authorities locate illegal narcotics.
The deputy, hoping to find the identity the owner, turned on the cell phone and noticed several photos of a house and marijuana plants being grown.
As luck would have it for the officer – and not for the suspect – the deputy recognized the home and knew the address.
The officer went to the house on Old Fairground Road in the Willow Spring community. No one was at home but deputies did locate the marijuana plants growing in plain sight in the back yard, as pictured on the cell phone.
Narcotics agents with the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office took over the investigation.
On Thursday, Lawrence Ashley, 62, was arrested and charged with felony manufacturing marijuana and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. He was jailed under a $10,000 bond.
All the marijuana plants were seized.