Investigators confiscated 21 marijuana plants and 42.6 additional grams of pot when they found a marijuana-growing operation while serving a search warrant related to a sexual assault case in Rembert.
The victim told Sumter County Sheriff's Office deputies she saw the drug activity — which one of the suspects reportedly said was in an effort to perfect his growing methods before moving to Colorado — while she was temporarily staying at the residence on Ridgewood Drive.
Rebecca Allyn Miles, 31, and Craig Alan Till Jr., 35, both of Ridgewood Drive, and Billy Joe McCoy Jr., 26, of Truefield Drive, have been charged with manufacturing marijuana for the drug operation, according to Adrienne Sarvis, public information officer for the sheriff's office. Miles and Till are also each facing a first-degree criminal sexual conduct charge.
The victim told investigators those two suspects came into her room one night this month. Warrants state they forcibly held the victim down and kissed her while removing her clothing and prevented her from leaving the room by blocking the door.
Miles is accused of holding the woman down at times while Till forcibly had sexual intercourse with the victim while "she tried to resist and get away," according to the sheriff's office.
With that incident reportedly occurring on Saturday, investigators entered the residence on Sunday at 6 p.m. and saw "in plain sight" a large quantity of marijuana on the coffee table in front of Till, Miles and McCoy as well as clippings from a plant on the floor.
Multiple black canvas-style planters with what appeared to be marijuana at the bottom and recently cut marijuana stalks sticking out were also found in the living room, a news release from the sheriff's office said.
As the search continued, investigators found two large "grow tents" with a running fan and dehydrator unit inside a secondary bathroom. One of the tents was empty, with what appeared to be marijuana on the floor, and the other tent reportedly contained multiple planters with 2- to 3-foot marijuana plants.
A container in the middle of the secondary bathroom held 19 small marijuana seedlings a few inches in height, Sarvis wrote in the release. Plant clippings found on the floor and bare marijuana stalks indicated to investigators that some of the plants had already been harvested.
Investigators did not see any evidence that the suspects were growing plants other than marijuana, according to Sarvis.
Till reportedly told investigators he was "growing marijuana in the hopes of perfecting his methods so that he and Miles could move to Colorado to professionally produce the plants to supply dispensaries."
As of Monday evening, neither Till nor Miles had posted a total $35,000 bond each, $30,000 of which is a surety bond for the sexual conduct charge. Their next court dates are May 3, according to Sumter inmate records. McCoy appeared to have posted bond.
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