OREGON COUNTY -- After a three-month investigation, officers with the Oregon County Sheriff's Department, Troop G of the Missouri Highway Patrol and the South Central Drug Task Force arrested and charged three suspects with felony manufacture and possession of a controlled substance Dec. 15.
According to Oregon County Sheriff Tim Ward, a tip to officers with Troop G led to Trooper G.H. Falterman conducting an air investigation of a residence in Alton. The sheriff said the trooper spotted several marijuana plants and tubs along a power line right-of-way while in an Army National Guard helicopter. Trooper Falterman also observed what he called a well-worn ATV trail that led from the residence and an ATV loaded with milk jugs parked at the end of the trail. He said he also saw a greenhouse and could see plants growing inside the building.
Phillip J. Colley soon arrived at the John and Ann Fortney residence where the marijuana had been spotted. Colley, 50, of Winona told officers he and John Fortney had been working together raising the marijuana and that he had come to water the marijuana, according to authorities. A short time later, Ann Fortney, 52, arrived home and told officers the same story, authorities said. John Fortney, 57, was arrested at a later date.
All three suspects were charged with manufacture and possession of a controlled substance. Each posted a $10,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in Oregon County Associate Circuit Court Jan. 5.