FLORENCE – Vicki Lynn Peden, 55, of 61 Lauderdale 38, Lot 9, Florence. Was arrested last week for possession of approximately 1,000 marijuana plants that has a worth of $2 million.
According to Lt. Gene Schrieber of Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control, his agency along with the Florence/ Lauderdale Drug Task Force, Florence Police K9 unit and the Lauderdale District Attorney Office, have all been receiving tips about what was going on at the residence for quite some time. Schreiber went as far as to say that the plants were clearly visible from the road.
As of this time Peden has been charged with with first-degree possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. She has been charged, under Alabama state law, with a felony offense. Second degree possession is punishable by one year in prison and a fine of $6,000 if she claims the use of the drug is for strictly personal use. The charges are still being evaluated, and will be determined by a Grand Jury.
A source at the Lauderdale County District Attorney’s office told The Quad-Cities Daily, “The number of plants (1,000) that officials have told the media is arbitrary at best. Most of the time the numbers sound bigger than they really are. When does a plant become a plant, a large majority of those 1,000 plants were merely seedlings and essentially worth nothing.”
“These charges may be upgraded to a higher offense”, said Tim Glover from the Florence/ Lauderdale Drug Task Force. Because of the number of plants that was found at the residence, they will most likely upgrade Peden’s charges to manufacturing marijuana.
Manufacturing is punished harshly, with sentences of five to 40 years for the lowest level of Federal drug manufacturing charges, and two to 20 years for the lowest charge under Alabama state law. In addition, a manufacturing charge is often stacked on top of other drug charges, which means defendants can spend decades in prison.
During the raid of the Lauderdale County woman’s home, law enforcement officers say they also discovered 20 gallons of homemade wine.
Peden has been released on bail of $4,500.