Raid of Asheville area tax official finds pot

The Madison County tax administrator was arrested Wednesday after authorities said they found marijuana plants at his Mars Hill home during an early morning raid. Christopher Rodney Maney, 46, was charged with felony possession and manufacturing of marijuana after the raid by State Bureau of Investigation agents and the Madison County Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office was operating on a tip that Maney was growing marijuana adjacent to his home, Sheriff Buddy Harwood said. Detectives seized about 5.5 pounds of marijuana.

Eight marijuana plants in separate buckets were found in a field near the home. Marijuana seeds and drug paraphernalia, including a scale, were found in the residence, authorities said. Maney was charged with possession and manufacture of a controlled substance and placed under a $15,000 unsecured bond. Maney’s wife, Susan Maney, is the chief probation officer in Madison County. She was not charged. A county employee since 1988, Maney was suspended with pay until further notice, County Manager Steve Garrison said.

“It is certainly unfortunate,” Garrison said. “He was a stand-up employee. There have been no previous incidents.” Maney previously worked for the county’s Department of Social Services and served as director of community services from 2000-08. Madison County screens all new county employees for drug use. Maney had been with the county for more than two decades, so no drug screening was required for him to move into other positions. “Unless an incident occurs that warrants (another drug screening), there is no process to screen existing employees transferring to another department,” Garrison said.

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