Authorities checking on the welfare of a Fort Sill soldier say they found a large indoor marijuana growing operation in the man’s apartment in Lawton. Fort Sill spokeswoman Emily Kelley on Thursday identified the soldier as Staff Sgt. Robert M. Snyder, a 27-year-old medic from San Antonio, Texas, who works at Reynolds Army Hospital. He has not been found. “We’ve got a real mystery on our hands,” Det. Nancy Lombardo told The Lawton-Constitution.
Police said the soldier’s sergeant went to the apartment about 5 p.m. Tuesday when the soldier failed to show up for work. The sergeant went inside when he received no answer at the door, then called police after seeing tubes and electrical wiring that he initially thought might have been explosives. The tubes and wiring were part of a hydroponic operation in which water and a substance known as rockwool, which includes minerals and allows the root system to grow, were used to produce high-grade marijuana that was worth an estimated $70,000, police said.
Lombardo told television station KSWO that the man apparently got the idea from books and a DVD. “I can tell you it appears the suspect has done his homework,” she said. “He has been able to produce a very good quality of this hydroponic marijuana. It looked like he took some time to learn how to do that.” Hydroponically grown marijuana usually has a higher concentration of the psychoactive compound of marijuana, and has become quite desirable to users, Lombardo said, adding that it’s the first such operation she has seen in the area.
“I’ve never seen a water-based marijuana grow with my own eyes … that was the first one. The extent of the operation, the quality that was being produced was above standard,” she said. Lombardo said a portion of the marijuana will be sent to the Oklahoma State Bureau of investigation for analysis, and the remainder will be destroyed. Kelley said Fort Sill officials are assisting in the investigation.
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