SLIDELL, La. -- A simple traffic stop just a few months ago led five agencies on the Northshore to a stash of marijuana plants and weapons.
The bust went down at a home in Slidell on Monday where 21 semi-automatic and automatic guns were seized, along with 56 marijuana plants, marijuana ready-to-sell, a vehicle and more than $5,000 in cash.
Louisiana State Police say the drugs, amounting to almost $400,000 in value, were grown with an elaborate irrigation and ventilation system.
"It's definitely a substantial find right here, anytime we see this much marijuana, in the combonation of this many weapons, it's a great success for us," said Louisiana State Police Trooper Nick Manale.
The investigation started three months ago and centered around a house in the upscale Turtle Creek subdivision. State police say Timothy H O'Neil III is the mastermind. The Secretary of State's website says he's also part of the O'Neil Theatres corporation.
Margia Anderson was arrested with him. They both faces multiple drug-related charges, including cultivating marijuana, possession with intent to distribute and possession of firearms in the presence of drugs.
Law enforcement officials say you never know where these investigations will lead.
"A well-to-do neighborhood and unsuspecting locations and that's the thing, we find these people having these clandestine labs in all different type of places," said Manale.
Neighbors say they're surprised this happened right under their noses and near several schools.
"There's a sheriff's patrol here all the time. I see him every day. So whatever was going on, he kept it pretty quiet," said homeowner Mark Giardina.
The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office, Drug Enforcement Agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the National Guard assisted with this investigation.
O'Neil is out on a $100,000 bail. As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, Anderson was still in the St. Tammany Parish Jail.
"It doesn't make a difference where they come from or where the house is, we find these in some surprising locations at times, just like we did in this investigation."