By Sarah Hogsed
Register News Writer
Richmond police broke up an alleged marijuana trafficking and cultivation ring Sunday following a home invasion on Martin Drive.
Seth Adkins, 19; Witmer Lopez, 21; William Upchurch, 23; and Jacob Walters, 24; were all charged with trafficking in marijuana (more than 5 pounds), according to a news release from RPD Chief Larry Brock.
Adkins and Mikal Thackston, 18, were charged with first-degree robbery, the release stated.
Lopez also was charged by police with tampering with physical evidence, and Upchurch received a felony charge of cultivating marijuana (five or more plants), according to the release.
Early Sunday morning, two residents of a home in the 600 block of Martin Drive reported to police that two intruders had come into the house while they were asleep and stole $200 in cash. Two pairs of sunglasses also were taken from the residents’ vehicles, according to the report.
One resident awoke during the home invasion and saw the two men sitting in his roommate’s vehicle.
“When he went to investigate, the two men attacked him causing minor injuries,” Brock said in the release.
The resident got away, and the men drove off in the vehicle, the release stated.
The roommate who owned the vehicle, Witmer Lopez, was not home during the break-in, and when police searched his room they found 8 ounces of marijuana, plastic bags, digital scales and several empty pill bottles, according to the release.
Lopez returned to the home at 9:45 a.m. in his vehicle, and he was cited by officers for trafficking in marijuana (less than 8 oz.) and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Later that day, RPD officers were called to an apartment in the 500 block of Hampton Way, Brock said.
“Officers arrived and found that Lopez had been followed by his two roommates to the apartment on Hampton Way where they observed the two males who had committed the earlier home invasion and theft,” Brock said.
The two roommates had confronted the men and recovered their stolen sunglasses and money from them, Brock said.
Officers observed marijuana and drug paraphernalia in the apartment, and after obtaining a search warrant, they found approximately 6 pounds of marijuana, $2,500 in cash, assorted bongs and marijuana pipes, assorted equipment for an indoor marijuana-growing operation and six small marijuana plants, Brock said.
Upchurch and Walters live at the Hampton Way apartment, and Adkins, Thackston and Lopez were present at the apartment during the search, Brock said.
Sarah Hogsed can be reached at shogsed
@richmondregister.com or 624-6694.